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Community, fire chief remember house fire victims


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Photo by Jim Davis. With flowers and a candle on the steps of a burned out home in Lewisdale, family members, community leaders, schoolmates and neighbors hold a candlelight vigil for three people killed in the house fire last November.

Photo by Jim Davis. With flowers and a candle on the steps of a burned out home in Lewisdale, family members, community leaders, schoolmates and neighbors hold a candlelight vigil for three people killed in the house fire last November.

Published on: Friday, December 21, 2012

By Jim Davis

Family members, community leaders, schoolmates and neighbors gathered in front of a burned out Lewisdale home on a Wednesday night in late November for a candlelight vigil to remember the two adults and 6-year-old child killed in a house fire last November.

The fire was reported shortly before 4 a.m. Nov. 27, 2011, in the 2400 block of Griffen Street. When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy fire and smoke was coming from the front part of the one-story house. The grandmother of the youngest victim told firefighters that her daughter, sister and grandson were still inside the burning house.

As firefighters from Chillum Adelphi Station 834 entered the house to make an aggressive attack on the fire, a team of firefighters from Hyattsville Station 801 also entered the house and located Omari Noel, 6, unconscious and not breathing. The crew quickly removed the child, initiated CPR and handed him to awaiting paramedics. The child was transported to a local hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries.

A second team of firefighters, also from Hyattsville, located Simone Ann Munroe, 36, unconscious and not breathing. The crew removed her from the house and started CPR. She was transported to a local hospital where doctors were able to revive her, but she died the following day.

As firefighters were removing the child and Munroe, a third team of firefighters, from Berwyn Heights Station 814, located Janet Assing Mackin, 61, also unconscious and not breathing. They quickly removed her from the house and started CPR. Paramedics worked in the front yard of the house for several minutes to revive her, and she was transported to a local hospital where she also succumbed to her injuries two days later.

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department investigators were called to the scene. They were unable to locate a working smoke alarm in the house, said Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.

“In this case, the fire was in the front of the home. All of the victims were in the rear of the home ... where there was no fire damage. If there was a working smoke alarm in the house, maybe this could have been prevented,” Bashoor said.

At the vigil, Bahoor said, “Omari was six years old, and he wanted to be a firefighter. But it’s touching enough for me to be part of the service tonight and try to help the family to remember and hopefully help them through the grieving, for me just being part of the community.”

Mark Brady, chief spokesman for the Fire Department, said firefighters went door to door the day after the fire. They discovered 38 homes in the area that did not have smoke alarms or their smoke alarms were not working. These 38 homes received new smoke alarms.

County residents can receive a free smoke alarm from Prince George’s County Fire Department by calling (301) 864-SAFE (7233).

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