Hyattsville Volunteers
Breaking News


CHILLUM, Md (May 20) -- A mother and her 3-year-old child were in critical condition late tonight after jumping from the third floor balcony of their Chillum apartment as fire cut off their escape.

At about 7:20 p.m., units from Chillum, Mount Rainier, Hyattsville, Chillum-Adelphi and the surrounding area responded to 5417 16th Avenue for a reported apartment fire. Units arrived to find heavy fire conditions in a third-story unit at the LaSalle garden apartments.

The 47-year-old woman and the child were inside the apartment when a fire broke out in the kitchen area and rapidly extended, blocking the hallway and the pair's escape.

After retreating into a back bedroom and surrounded by fire, the woman decided to cradle her child and jump from the window, according to Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department spokesman Mark Brady.

The woman sustained critical traumatic injuries in the jump, including a possible fractured pelvis, ribs and head injuries. She also sustained 3rd-degree burns to over 40-percent of her body. The child also had first- and second-degree burns to more than 50-percent of his body.

Ambulance 18 from the HVFD was the first arriving EMS unit, according to officials, and immediately went to the aid of the victims along with a member of Engine Company 1 who was also sent to assist. Along with two arriving paramedic units, the mother was transported to Washington Hospital Center's MedStar Trauma Center where she was listed in critical condition. The child was taken to Children's National Medical Center in Washington and also critical.

The cause of the fire was under investigation and damages were estimated at about $50,000. It could not be determined if the hard-wired smoke detector was in operation at the time of the blaze due to the intense heat. No other units in the building were affected by the blaze.

Engine Company 1, Metro Support Unit 1 and Ambulance 18 responded to the call with seven volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel led by Captain Marshall Davies. The engine crew advanced a back up line over a ladder on Side 3 of the building to the fire apartment as the fire was being knocked down.

The fire took about 10 minutes to extinguish. About 30 firefighters and
emergency medical personnel were on the scene for more than two hours.