Maryland 3-Alarm Apartment Fire near Firehouse.com

A 'Mayday' was transmitted for two downed firefighters


Shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17, Prince George's County Communications dispatched units on a 41 box for smoke coming from the apartment building.

As units were responding, Communications gave additional information that callers stated they believed smoke was coming from one or two terrace level apartments.

First arriving Engine 841 entered the complex and reported smoke showing from a three-story garden style apartment. Fire had begun to vent from the roof of the partial 3-story front and 4-story rear building and was being driven by the wind to extend into the adjoining apartments.

Despite an aggressive initial attack, the initial companies were withdrawn by evacuation tones and regrouped, focusing on attacking the extension via the cockloft.

During the withdraw, a "Mayday" was transmitted for two downed firefighters. Crews working on accessing the cockloft of the fire apartment had some debris come down on them, resulting in a handline becoming loose. Two firefighters ended up with their facepieces dislodged and minor injuries. No sooner had the "Mayday" been transmitted and acknowledged, than the downed firefighters were assisted by those leaving the fire building. EMS crews quickly attended to the injured firefighters who were subsequently transported to Washington Hospital Center and later listed in "good" condition.

Engine companies ran leader lines and standpipe racks to reach the limited access apartment building, as well as supply lines to the already positioned truck companies. Subsequent second and third alarms were struck, bringing additional fire and EMS personnel as well as water supply support apparatus.

During the second and third alarm, companies ran lines inside and over ladders to the top floor of the exposure apartment. They also performed trench cuts on Exposures 2 and 2A. EMS established a rehab sector for the first-arriving companies as well as to shelter personnel from the high wind and cold temperatures. As the extension was confined, master streams from Truck 831, Truck 812, Tower 807 as well as handlines on Side Charlie darkened down the bulk of the visible fire in the original fire apartment.

While there were no occupant fatalities and injuries, two firefighters were treated for minor injuries. Approximately 100 occupants have been left homeless. The investigation is underway, and will note that many occupants were reportedly using candles and portable heating devices due to a power outage originating the night before.

See WUSA 9 Dave Statter's news blog, STATter911 for additional coverage and video.