3 firefighters fall through floor at Md. house fire, 1 injured

About 100 firefighters responded to the house fire that injured a volunteer firefighter and killed six pets


Jeremy Arias
The Frederick News-Post, Md.

Firefighters narrowly avoided tragedy Wednesday night when three volunteers fell through a weakened floor while battling a house fire near Lake Linganore, according to a press release.

The fire was dispatched at about 10 p.m. at a house in the 6600 block of Edgewood Road where firefighters arrived to find flames and a significant amount of smoke, said Benjamin Nalborczyk, chief of the New Market District Volunteer Fire Co. While all four occupants of the house, an adult and three children, got out of the house before crews arrived, firefighters could not initially confirm the building was clear, prompting a search-and-rescue operation, Nalborczyk said. Neighbors also told firefighters that pets were likely trapped inside.

Within five to seven minutes of the first attacks on the fire, crews spoke with a resident and learned that all of the human occupants were safely outside, but several volunteers from Rescue Squad 15 were already inside, Nalborczyk said.

Having encountered a problem entering the front door of the structure, forcing visitors to walk over a short bridge to reach the front door, the fire crews entered another door to the rear of the building.

“On top of near zero visibility and the high heat, there were hoarding conditions inside the household and the household’s footprint or layout was very cut up,” Nalborczyk said.

For example, as three volunteer firefighters reached the front entrance of the house and the bridge leading to the driveway, they still believed they were inside a bedroom, the chief said.

“They were actually crawling along that bridge when it gave way beneath them and took about an 8-foot fall into a breezeway, an open breezeway, in front of the house,” Nalborczyk said.

While two of the volunteers emerged unscathed, the third suffered a puncture wound as a result of the fall and was taken by ambulance to Frederick Health Hospital for stitches, Nalborczyk said. The firefighter was released early Thursday and was expected to make a full recovery.

Three dogs and three cats died in the fire, Nalborczyk said. A total of around 100 firefighters from Frederick and Carroll counties took roughly 90 minutes to bring the fire under control, and the building was likely a total loss, with fire marshals estimating property damage at close to $100,000. The local chapter of the American Red Cross was asked to respond to meet with the displaced residents, but Nalborczyk could not say whether or not the residents received assistance from the nonprofit.

The fire was believed to have started on a mattress in the basement, but the cause remained under investigation by Frederick County fire marshals as of Thursday.

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©2019 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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