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Thursday, April 29, 2010

3 House Fires on Thursday Afternoon

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Thursday afternoon, April 29, 2010, proved to be a busy time for firefighters as they fought three separate house fires within a 95 minute period. This rare occurrence of significant fire incidents within a short time frame displaced a total of 12 residents, caused an estimated $365,000 in fire loss; however, there were no civilian or firefighter injuries. There were just over 100 firefighters that operated on the scene of the three incidents, not including the personnel on the dozen pieces of apparatus transferred to fill-in at empty Fire/EMS stations.

The first incident involved a 2 ½ story home being used as a boarding house; Firefighters from the District Heights area were alerted at about 2:40 PM and arrived to encounter heavy fire conditions on the top floor. Thirty-five firefighters and medics worked for 30 minutes to knock the fire down. Fire Investigators believe an electrical malfunction ignited the blaze that caused an estimated $70,000 in damages. The Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services Unit and American Red Cross assisted the 8 residents displaced.

The next incident was dispatched just 7 minutes after the initial incident while firefighters were aggressively battling the fire in District Heights. At 2:47 pm, Prince Georges County Firefighters from the Beltsville area and Montgomery County Firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 3400 block of Stonehall Drive in Calverton. Firefighters arrived to find a 1-story, with basement, single family home with fire showing from the roof. There were 30 firefighters on the scene that initiated a quick interior attack on the fire and had the bulk of the fire contained and knocked down within 20 minutes. The 2 occupants were assisted by the Citizens Services Unit with ensuring temporary shelter. Fire Investigators declared the fire as accidental and attributed to a malfunctioning electrical appliance. Fire loss was estimated at $45,000.

Firefighters and apparatus from neighboring stations were transferred into the Beltsville community to cover the area normally protected by the Fire/EMS units operating on the scene at Stonehall Drive. Those transferred units and additional firefighters from Anne Arundel County were soon dispatched to a reported house fire in the 8700 block of Oxwell Lane, a 2-story single family home in the Montpellier section of Laurel, at about 4:15 pm. Fire/EMS units arrived to find heavy fire through the roof of what once was a garage and had been converted into a family room. The fire extended quickly into the second floor and roof area with an eventual collapse of a portion of the roof structure. Firefighters were evacuated due to the collapse and increasing untenable conditions and the 40 firefighters on the scene continued to extinguish the fire and protect exposures from the exterior. Two residents are displaced from their home and were assisted by the Citizen Services Unit; the displaced will be staying will family members. Fire Investigators continue to investigate the cause of the fire and estimated fire loss at $250,000.

Fire/EMS units from the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Howard Counties transferred into Prince George’s County while firefighters battled these fires.