MCFRS News Release

Firefighters Rescue Children from Kensington House Fire

Smoke Alarm Activates

Young Girl Shelters Siblings and Calls 911

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, 2007 units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service were dispatched for the report of a house fire at 9819 Connecticut Avenue, in Kensington. First arriving firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from numerous windows and doors and a fire on the first floor.

The initial 911 call came from a 12 year old girl from inside the house. She said that she and her siblings were trapped on the second floor. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Fire and Explosive Investigators believe that the mother had left the home to go to a nearby store. While she was away, the children smelled smoke and while looking for the source, the smoke alarm activated. The 12 year old girl then checked on her siblings and took them to the safety of the second floor bedroom where they were sheltered in place. They were unable to exit due to the heat and smoke on the first floor.

One child apparently called the mother. The mother told them to get out, but at this point they could not. The young girl then called 911. Fire and rescue units were dispatched. It is believed that the mother arrived home about that time, prior to the arrival of firefighters. She was unable to enter the house due to the heat and smoke. Firefighters arrived moments later and made the rescues.

About 60 firefighters and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene. First arriving firefighters immediately entered the house to locate the trapped children. All children were located on the second floor. Several children were found unconscious and handed out windows to arriving firefighters. As the fire was being extinguished, some of the children were lowered via ladders, while others were carried through the house to awaiting medical providers in the front yard. All rescues were made within a few minutes of firefighters arriving on the scene.

A total of six (6) people were transported to area hospitals. No firefighters were injured. Five (5) children, including twins aged 13 months old and other children aged 3, 7 and 12 years old were transported to area hospitals with possible smoke inhalation. The most critically injured were transported to Children's National Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. All are expected to survive and the prognosis is good. An approximately 25 year old female was also transported for exposure to smoke.

Fire Investigators believe the fire originated in a first floor bedroom area of the large 2-story brick, colonial style single family home. Damage is estimated to be at least $450,000. The family of seven will be displaced. The Red Cross is assisting.

Having a working smoke alarm more than doubles one's chances of surviving a fire. A combination of a residential sprinkler and working smoke alarms almost guarantee that a person will survive a fire.