Laytonsville Family Escapes Early Morning Blaze

Smoke alarm awakens a sleeping family and guests, 11 escape

Around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 11, 2007 units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched for the report of a house fire at 8040 Brink Road, in Laytonsville. First arriving firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire coming from the second floor and roof of a large single family house. Additional units were dispatched to assist, in addition to water tankers due to the lack of fire hydrants in the area.

Approximately 60 firefighters, equivalent to 2-alarms, were utilized on the scene. A smoke alarm activated and alerted residents. Eleven (11) occupants of the house, two adults, six children and three adult guests, evacuated safely prior to the arrival of firefighters. The children ranged in age from 11 months to 17 years old. It took firefighters about 25 minutes to 'knock down' the bulk of the fire. Two firefighters received minor injuries and were treated and released from local hospitals.

Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental. The homeowner indicated that he had been using the fireplace for an extended period during the day in order to defer some of the cost of heating the large house.

Around 4:30 a.m. they were awakened by the sound of an activated smoke alarm. The initial investigation by the father at the time found only light smoke and odor. He assumed that this was residual smoke from the fireplace use and proceeded to open some windows and doors to ventilate. As he was doing this he noticed a fire on the exterior of the house and on the roof. He immediately alerted the rest of the occupants and they exited the house safely and eventually called 911. He then attempted to fight the fire with an extinguisher and garden hose, without success, until the fire department arrived.

Fire Investigators determined that the origin of the fire was around the fireplace in the first floor sitting room. Some combustible interior wall components became heated and caught fire due to the extended use and resulting pyrolytic decomposition, or a chemical change in the wood that caused the fire. From the wall around the fireplace, the fire traveled to the roof area. Damage is estimated to be $275,000. The Red Cross is assisting the family. Brink Road was closed for several hours due to firefighting apparatus in the roadway as well as by icy conditions in the 8000 block.