Kitchen Fire Extinguished by Sprinklers - Mom Under Arrest

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930,
Carreen Koubek, Laurel City Police Department, 240-454-4934

A residential sprinkler activated, contained a kitchen fire and spared a Laurel family from tragedy this afternoon.  By the time the event had concluded a mother of 2 young children was under arrest.

At around 1:15 pm, Friday, February 24, 2012, firefighters from the Laurel Fire/EMS Station #849 and Beltsville Fire/EMS Station #831 were alerted to investigate an automatic fire alarm at a 3-story apartment building in the 600 block of Main Street in Laurel.  Firefighters arrived to find an apartment  filled with smoke from ceiling to floor and remnants of a kitchen fire.  The kitchen fire had been extinguished by an activated residential sprinkler.

FIrefighters ensured the fire was completely extinguished and made a disturbing discovery while conducting a search of the apartment.  Two young children, ages 1 and 3, were found just outside of the kitchen area.  They were wet from being sprayed with water from the sprinklers that doused the fire.  Their mother, a 33 year old female, was also located in the apartment.  She was reported to have passed out while under the influence of an unknown substance.

The three occupants were removed from the hazardous atmosphere and tended to by EMT's.  The EMS Duty Officer reported to the scene and used an pulse oximeter to determine if the children were in danger of smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide injuries.  Fortunately, it was determined that they did not need hospitalization and custody of the children was turned over to their grandmother.  

According to Jim Collins of the City of Laurel Police Department, "The mother, Ciarra Williams, was arrested and charged with "Reckless Endangerment" and two counts of "Child Abuse." 

The cause of the fire is "unattended cooking" and fire loss estimated at $500.  The residential sprinkler is credited with containing the fire and limiting the amount of damage as well as injuries to the apartment occupants.