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Prince George's County's first African-American woman delegate dies after house fire

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Published on: Thursday, January 31, 2013

By Jim Davis

The first African-American woman to serve Prince George’s County in the Maryland House of Delegates died Saturday from injuries sustained in a house fire.

County firefighters were called around 11 a.m. Jan. 24 to the 3500 block of Everest Street in Temple Hills for a reported fire with a person still trapped inside the house.

“When firefighters arrived on the scene, they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the house with a report of a woman still trapped inside,” said Mark Brady, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman.

Firefighters quickly entered the house to attack the blaze, as a second group conducted a search of the house and located Christine Jones. The 83-year-old had no pulse or respiration, Brady said.

Jones was quickly removed and turned over to county paramedics, who performed CPR on her as she was transported to a local hospital. 

At the hospital, doctors were able to get a pulse, and Jones was breathing again — but she was still in grave condition. Jones died from her injuries Saturday evening at a hospital in Baltimore, Brady said.

Residents in the Temple Hills area said Jones was a living legend in Prince George’s County. Jones was a teacher for 20 years in the county. In 1982, she was the first African-American representative to serve Prince George’s County in the Maryland House of Delegates; she represented the 26th Legislative District.

Fire investigators believe the fire started in a bedroom, but they are still working to determine a cause. There were no other injuries reported, and damage is estimated at $75,000. Firefighters brought the fire under control within 20 minutes of arriving on the scene.

Jones’s death was the fourth fire-related death in the county this month. Two people were killed in a New Carrollton apartment fire on Jan. 14, and a man has been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. On Jan. 20, a man had a heart attack on the scene of a fire at a two-story duplex in Lewisdale. The man was transported to a local hospital, where he died.

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