Units from the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding areas helped rescue residents from a burning apartment building in Landover on Jan. 4.
In all, over 18 occupants were removed from the building by firefighters.
The fire was reported at approximately 3:30 a.m. at 3401 Dodge Park Road after smoke was seen coming from the building.
Arriving crews positioned on the alpha side of the building and received reports from civilians that a woman was trapped in the burning unit and that there were oxygen bottles in the apartment.
Engine 332's crew stretched the 250 ft. by 1 1/2 inch attack line into the building towards the downstairs apartment as a team headed in to force entry and initiate a rapid primary search.
Crews were met with heavy smoke conditions and zero visibility as they made their way to the unit. Sgt. Scott Sturmer and Sgt. Tim Moore were the first to locate a handicapped woman lying in the smoke filled hallway.
The woman was passed down the hallway to the interior crew. The firefighters worked to hoist the woman up the interior stairwell to the upper entrance of the building and out to awaiting EMS.
She was transported to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition.
Once the initial victim was removed to safety the interior team returned to the apartment door and entry was made. Crews encountered extreme heat conditions and zero visibility as they worked to complete the primary search in the fire apartment.
While this aggressive interior attack was taking place, as a similar aggressive operation was taking place on the exterior. Firefighter Fred Caramiello, operating as the outside vent man on the Tower, was alerted by screaming coming from a third floor window.
Caramiello looked up to see a father holding his two-year-old child out the window stating he wanted to drop him to bystanders. Carmelio had a 35-foot ladder in hand and shouted to the man to stay calm and not to drop the child.
Assisted by Firefighter Don Aker, he went up the ladder and retrieved the child from the father as smoke issued from the apartment.
Three other adults were removed via the same window. A similar situation was unfolding in the rear of the building as Bladensburg Truck Company 9 removed six occupants including another child dangling from their parent's arms.
Victims in the windows of the fourth floor were told to stand by as crews worked to ventilate the smoke and heat charged stairwell.
The interior teams found fire in several rooms of the apartment and quickly knocked it down as the primary search proved negative beyond the initial victim.
The interior crew turned their attention to the top floor where banking smoke was still trapping occupants. Tower 33's roof team vertically ventilated the stairwell, releasing trapped heat and smoke.
With better conditions in the stairwell than in fourth floor apartments, the tower ladder crew made the decision to remove the additional six to eight occupants from the building via the interior stairwell.
Truck Company 9 completed searches on the 2nd and 3rd floors along with West Lahnam Truck Company 28.
Once the smoke cleared multiple oxygen bottles were found in the room or origin including one which had vented itself during the fire.