Maryland House Destroyed by Blaze

Two firefighters were injured.


LANHAM HILLS, Md. --

Flames engulfed a home in Lanham early Sunday as a family of five adults, along with a 2-year-old, slept inside.

"It was the most intense thing I'd ever seen," said Johanna Park, who was in the home when it happened. "The whole house was taken over by fire. It was so big."

Park was spending the weekend in Lanham with her family. She said smoke detectors woke them up before it was too late to get out.

When firefighters arrived just before 3 a.m., a large portion of the house in the 9400 block of Copernicus Drive was already in flames.

Heat from the blaze was so intense, it ignited a smaller fire next door. No one was home at the time, firefighters said.

It took dozens of firefighters about 45 minutes to knock down both blazes. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze.

Investigators said the fire started on the back deck, where the family had been grilling the night before. They said the grill sparked the fire.

"Possibly because the girl was left on, or there were some charcoal embers that may have ignited," fire spokesman Mark Brady said. "People need to be careful. We have extremely dry conditions."

Family members gathered after daylight Sunday morning, collecting what few belongings they could.

"We're just so grateful to be alive," Park said.