Maryland FFs Battle Townhome Fire and Weather

On June 18, 2007, local meteorologists had correctly forecasted a "Code Orange" day with temperatures in the mid 90's and high humidity. Just before 3:00 p.m. Montgomery County's (MD) Emergency Communications Center struck the box alarm for the house fire at 3908 Angleton Court, in Burtonsville. Angleton Court, along with Angleton Terrace, is a small development of 3-story townhomes, near the Montgomery County and Prince George's County border.

Prince George's County Fire and EMS Department responded on the box alarm with Engine 411 (Calverton), Engine 104 (Laurel) and Truck 31 (Beltsville). First due Company 15 (Burtonsville) apparatus arrived on the scene and reported a working fire. Communications then dispatched the Rapid Intervention Dispatch (RID), which was later followed by the Incident Commander (DFRS Battalion Chief 1) requesting the Task Force assignment. Crews from Engine 151, Truck 15 and Rescue Squad 15, along with the crew from Engine 241, made quick entry into the fire building, beginning the fire attack and primary search. Truck 31 (second due truck) arrived and began placing ladders up to and over the deck on the Charlie (rear) side, as well as checking for extension. As additional companies arrived the 350' line from Engine 151 was stretched to the rear first floor, while Engine 411 covered the initial RID assignment.

The fire, presumably involving the HVAC system, ran through wall and floor spaces, from the first to third floors. In one area, a hole had burned through on the second floor. Companies made quick work of knocking the fire and extension and kept it contained to the fire building. The primary and secondary searches were both negative.

Considering the area's weather and its impact on the crews, Command quickly rotated crews out to assigned EMS units for rehab and medical monitoring. Canteen 5 (Kensington) was special called and provided additional fluids to the crews operating. As the operation progressed, Command scaled the incident down, releasing the Task Force and RID companies. A curbside critique was held and units on the box alarm went in service afterwards. The Montgomery County Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.

All week, as part of the national fire service's Firefighter Safety Stand Down for 2007, the Montgomery County Division of Fire and Rescue Services has been broadcasting various safety reminders, as well as distributing other information, by highlighting past line of duty deaths in the county with each message. Despite the potential for extension to attached exposures, coupled with the heat stress from the weather, the risks for fireground and heat related injuries were significant. Crews were able to quickly knock the fire and then be rehabbed successfully, without any reported firefighter injuries.