MCFRS News Release

Aspen Hill Woman Rescued by Firefighters

78-year old woman in critical condition

Around 11:15 a.m. on Monday, September 25, 2006 units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to the report of a house fire at 14,002 Flint Rock Road, in the Manor Woods neighborhood near Aspen Hill. First arriving firefighters were met with heavy smoke coming from the house and by a resident indicting that someone was still trapped inside.

Firefighters searched the house, while others began to extinguish the fire on the first floor. A short time later, firefighters located an adult female unconscious in a second floor bathroom. The 78 year old female was removed from the house and received medical care. Paramedics were able to resuscitate the victim and transported her to a nearby hospital in critical condition suffering with smoke inhalation among other things. She was later transferred by medevac helicopter to the Shock Trauma Unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in Baltimore.

The victim’s husband had been out running errands and upon his return discovered smoke coming from the house. He called 911.

It is believed the woman sought refuge in the upstairs bathroom once the house filled with smoke. Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental in nature and originated in or around some oxygen concentrator equipment on the first floor. Furthermore, Fire Investigators believe the cause of the fire to be associated with a failure or malfunction of the oxygen concentrator equipment components. Initially, damage was estimated to be several hundred thousand dollars. The family was displaced as a result of the fire and damage and they were assisted by the American Red Cross.

Fire Investigators and fire/rescue crews remained on the scene for hours before departing the scene and among other things assisted the family with removing several items fro safe keeping. An insurance company board-up crew secured the structure by early evening time. Sometime just before 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 26, a neighbor discovered fire coming from near the roof. Firefighters were again summoned to the scene.

Fire Investigators believe there is nothing suspicious regarding the secondary fire and believe the fire was accidental and the result of a “flare-up” quite possibly due to undetected smoldering occurring in a concealed area in a wall or ceiling. No one was home. There were no injuries. Total damage is estimated to be $350,000 to the structure and $100,000 to the contents.

Firefighters canvassed the neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon and evening checking smoke alarms and handing out fire safety information. This is part of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service “Safety in the Neighborhood” initiative.

Next week a County Executive Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force is expected to release a preliminary report concerning seniors and fire safety. There have been two senior citizen residential fire deaths so far this year and five last year.