Thursday, May 23, 2013 6:57 AM
Photo by Jim Davis. Prince George’s County firefighters battle a house fire on Naval Drive last Thursday night. The fire displaced a mother and two children.
Published on: Monday, December 03, 2012
By Jim Davis
The actions of a 13-year-old boy saved his family from a fire last Thursday night in their Lanham-area home.
Taji Lee was in the living room with his mother and sister when he smelled smoke emanating from a second-floor bedroom. The teenager ventured upstairs to investigate the smoke smell and discovered a fire. He quickly ran downstairs and told his mother and sister to get out of the house.
However, Taji’s mother, who has multiple sclerosis, wanted to see what had caught fire. To prevent his mother from possibly putting herself in danger, Taji picked her up, carried her outside the house and locked the front door to keep her from reentering the home.
“I ran over to the house,” a neighbor told The Sentinel. “By this time, heavy smoke was coming from the top part of the house, and I grabbed the mother as the son locked the front door to prevent her from going back inside.”
Prince George’s County firefighters were called to the house in the 6300 block of Naval Drive just after 9:30 p.m., according to Mark Brady, public information officer for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.
When firefighters arrived, they encountered fire on the top floor extending throughout the house, said Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.
Additional units from as far away as Hyattsville and Mount Rainier were called to help extinguish the fire because of the large amount of fire throughout the house, Bashoor said.
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to control the fire, Brady said.
One firefighter was transported to the Washington Hospital Burn Center with first- and second-degree burns on his neck. He was treated and released from the hospital, and there were no other injuries reported, Brady said.
The fire caused significant damage to the house, and fire investigators have ruled the fire “accidental,” Brady said.
It is unknown if the house had working smoke alarms, fire officials said. That will be part of the investigation.
Residents of Prince George’s County may receive a free smoke alarm from the Fire Department. They may also have a free fire safety check by calling call (301) 864-SAFE (7233).