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House fires in Ritchie, Chillum areas keep Fire Department busy Sunday

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Published on: Thursday, November 29, 2012

By Jim Davis

Prince George’s County firefighters were kept busy Sunday responding to fires in the Ritchie and Chillum areas. The blazes have displaced more than a dozen residents.

Around 10:30 a.m., firefighters from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Station 844, Hyattsville Station 801 and other surrounding companies were called to the 2500 block of Van Buren in the Chillum Terrance community for a house fire.

Fire crews encountered heavy smoke coming from the one-story duplex house, according to Mark Brady, public information officer for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. All residents of the home evacuated safely.

Firefighters brought the fire under control within 20 minutes and no injuries were reported, Brady said.

The fire started on the exterior of the house in the area of the heat pump/HVAC unit. The fire then spread to the house’s interior and caused significant damage to both homes in the duplex, according to Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor.

A total of 15 people will be displaced as a result of the fire. They may seek help from the Red Cross or make their own living arrangements, Brady said.

Just before 4:30 p.m., fire crews from Ritchie Volunteer Fire Department Station 837, Forestville Fire station 823 and other nearby departments responded to the 8100 block of Vineyard Drive in the North Forestville area for another house fire.

The first arriving companies encountered heavy fire and smoke coming from the one-story house, but all residents were out safely, Brady said.

The fire was located in the kitchen and extended throughout the house before firefighters were able to extinguish the fire. There were no injuries reported, and fire investigators believe the fire was a result of unattended food on the stove.

Brady said it’s the time of the year when people will be doing extra cooking and baking for the holidays. When cooking on a stovetop, the cook should not walk away. Also, oven mitts and potholders should be used to avoid burns. Also, make sure all pots and pans are covered, never wear loose clothing when cooking and make sure the oven is clean, Brady recommended.

Should a small fire occur, it can be extinguished with a fire extinguisher or baking soda.

Prince George’s County residents can also have their local firefighters stop by to provide safety tips. Also, all residents must have a working smoke alarm on all floors of the house, Brady said. County residents may receive a free smoke alarm from the Fire Department by calling 301-864-SAFE (7233).

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