Nearly Tragic End of 2006 and Busy Beginning for 2007

Four Year-old Rockville Fire Victim is Critical

Around 5:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Sunday, December 31, 2006 units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a house fire at 807 Gail Street, in Rockville. Three occupants, a father and two sons were injured and transported to local hospitals. Fire Investigators believe a 'flash fire' occurred when the father used a flammable liquid in an attempt to re-ignite the fireplace. Damage was estimated to be $50,000.

Four (4) year-old Jason Cedillo received serious burn injuries and was initially transported to the National Children's Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Due to the extent of his injuries and possible inhalation burns, he was transferred to the Shriners Hospital for Children, in Boston, Massachusetts. The Shriners Hospital specializes in pediatric burn care, including acute burn injury, as well as respiratory burn and smoke inhalation. Jason Cedillo is reported to be in 'critical-stable' condition. His father, Alexander, age 29, received serious burns to his hands and minor burns to his upper extremities and was transported to the MedStar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C. Darwin Cedillo, age 12, received less serious burns to his leg and was transported to the National Children's Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.

The next day on Monday afternoon, January 1, 2007, dozens of firefighters revisited Gail Street and were in the same Rockville neighborhood going-door-to-door talking to residents about fire safety as part of the MCFRS 'Safety-in-the-Neighborhood" campaign. Earlier in the day, around 5:30 a.m., on New Year's Day, firefighters were called to the report of an apartment building fire at 18211 Lost Knife Circle, in Gaithersburg. A resident of a second floor apartment used a butane cigarette lighter as a source of light to look for medication under her bed. She accidentally ignited the underside of the mattress. There were no injuries, but damage was estimated to be $15,000.

Later that same January 1 morning, around 7:30 a.m., emergency personnel and equipment were dispatched to 4100 Jones Bridge Road, in Chevy Chase for the report of a house fire. Three (3) occupants of the house were awakened by an activated smoke alarm. Firefighters arrived and encountered a fire in the basement of a large single family house. The fire was quickly extinguished. There were no injuries. Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental in nature and caused by an overheated electronic device (clock radio) that caught a couch on fire. The fire was primarily confined to the area of origin, but smoke damage elsewhere was considerable. Damage was estimated to be at least $75,000. Three persons will be displaced.

Previously, on the day of New Year's Eve, around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 31, 2006, units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to fire at the Princess Jeweler's located at 11530-G Rockville Pike at the Metro Pike Center Shopping Center, in Rockville. An electrical fire (light ballast) in a display case caught on fire and resulted in about $25,000 in damage. There were no injuries. A passerby noticed smoke and called 911. Prior to the arrival of firefighters, a sprinkler system activated and controlled the fire. Firefighters were able to quickly finish the job thus keeping damage to a minimum.

Later, around 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, as some crews were still on the scene of the aforementioned house fire on Gail Street, in Rockville, firefighters from the Germantown area were called to the report of a barn fire in the 14600 block of Schaeffer Road, near Burdette Lane, not far from the Soccer Plex, in Germantown. First arriving firefighters found an abandoned barn structure 'burned to the ground' and a total loss. There were no injuries. This structure has been the scene of previous fires and the circumstances of this fire are suspicious. The fire is under investigation.

Emergency workers were kept busy as 2006 came to a close. Montgomery County fire fighters and emergency medical first responders were called to assist on about 100,000 incidents in 2006. During the course of the year almost 300,000 emergency units responded throughout Montgomery County involving about one million fire and rescue personnel on emergency apparatus. About 75-80 percent of all responses were medical or rescue incidents.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is a full spectrum life safety agency protecting nearly 1 million people who live and work in Maryland's most populous jurisdiction. The MCFRS is a combination system (career/volunteer), operating with a budget of about $180 million, comprised of over 1200 career uniformed personnel and professional civilian staff and an equal number of volunteers, nearly half of whom actively participate in emergency response.