MCFRS News Release

Fire Victim Died From Smoke Inhalation

At 5:25 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2007, units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded for the report of smoke in the building at 390 North Summit Avenue, in Gaithersburg.

Frederick G. Latreille, age 57, was rescued from the kitchen floor of his apartment in the Spring Ridge Apartment complex. First arriving firefighters found him unconscious and not breathing. Medics resuscitated him and he was transported to a local hospital. He succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital. The medical examiner later determined the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

Residents of the 13-unit apartment building were evacuated for several hours. Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental in nature. The fire appears to have started on the stove top and Fire Investigators believe the most probable ignition source was food cooking unattended. It is believed at the time of the fire that the Mr. Latreille suffered from smoke inhalation and was rendered incapable of self-evacuation. Damage was contained to the apartment of origin and estimated at $15,000.

The smoke alarm closest to the kitchen area was damaged by heat and it was not determined if it functioned properly and/or activated. Other smoke alarms in the apartment of origin and throughout the building were found to be functional and in good order. Later that day firefighters went door-to-door checking smoke alarms with property management and at the same time spoke to residents about fire safety as part of the Safety in the Neighborhood initiative.

Mr. Frederick Latreille is Montgomery County's tenth residential fire fatality of the year.