At about 11:55 AM, Wednesday, Dec. 10, frefighters and paramedics from the Lanham/Greenbelt area and surrounding communities were alerted to an apartment building fire with occupants trapped.
Fire/EMS units arrived quickly at 10015 Greenbelt Road in the Woodland Landing apartment complex and encountered a three-story/front four-story/rear, garden style apartment building with heavy fire coming from the second and third floors of the front side of the building.
As one team of firefighters advanced hoselines into the apartment building to extinguish the fire, another team went to the rear of the building and used ground ladders to remove occupants from their balconies.
Several occupants had attempted to exit via the interior stairwell. However, they were forced back into their apartments due to high heat and thick smoke. They sought safe refuge on their balconies on the rear side, opposite of where the fire was located, of the building until help arrived.
Maintenance personnel from the complex were in the process of removing a 26-year-old female and her 15-month-old daughter when firefighters arrived. Firefighters rescued a 38-year-old female from her third floor balcony. The occupants were evaluated by paramedics on the scene, however, did not require hospitalization.
A task force was sounded bringing additional resources to the fire scene where 45 firefighters took about 15-20 minutes to knock the bulk of the fire. Fourteen apartments will be displaced and the Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services unit is working with apartment management to place all the displaced residents, 20 adults and seven children, into vacant units. There were no injuries.
Fire investigators have determined that the cause of the fire is accidental and is attributed to an unattended candle in a second floor apartment. Preliminary fire loss is estimated at $250,000. Several pet snakes were located in an apartment on the third floor and turned over to animal management authorities for safe keeping until the owner can retrieve them. One pet cat was found deceased in the apartment of origin.