A woman and her 4-year-old daughter were electrocuted Saturday outside their flooded basement.
The victims were identified Sunday as Crystal Leigh Puderbaugh, age 29, and Lily Elizabeth Puderbaugh of the 8800 block of Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Crystal Puderbaugh died due to a combination of electrocution and drowning. The office ruled that Lily’s death was caused by electrocution. There was no evidence of foul play, police said.
Officer Rick Goodale speculated that they were trying to prevent water from getting into their basement.
Goodale said there is a drain in the stairwell where the victims were found. He said the drain probably got overwhelmed by the flooding.
Goodale speculated that the woman and the girl used the portable sump pump to try to get the standing water out. They would have been standing in the water when the surge of electricity occurred, Piringer said. Water is a natural conductor of electricity, and the human body is as well, Piringer said.
The victims were found unresponsive in the outdoor staircase leading to the basement of the home when first responders arrived, according to the department.
Pete Piringer, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Squad, said the victims appeared to be in cardiac arrest and were not breathing or moving. Emergency personnel performed CPR, Piringer said.
Goodale said residents should be cautious about situations involving electrical components that are near standing water. There is no way to tell whether the water is charged or not, Goodale said.
Piringer said the call regarding this incident was one of several flood-related calls received within a short period.
Between 4 and 6 p.m., the squad received calls from people who got trapped when trees fell on their homes, calls for water rescues for people who were stranded in their vehicles due to flooding, and calls reporting trees that brought wires down, Piringer said. Some of the wires were live due to the storm, Piringer said. Several car crashes occurred in that time, some of which were fatal, Piringer said.