Bowie is dealing with a rare rash of fires, with three fires in one weekend recently, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said.
“Three (fires) in 24 hours is highly unusual,” Bashoor said during a Bowie City Council meeting Feb. 4. “Something isn’t working in the city for us to have this many fires.”
Since the start of the year, there have been six fires in the city, according to information Bashoor submitted to the council. There were a total of 28 fires in the city last year, according to county fire department statistics.
Having some home fires in a city of Bowie’s size, which has more than 20,000 households, is not unusual, said Mark Brady a county fire/EMS spokesman, who added that “any time you have a fire is a matter of concern.”
Councilman Isaac Trouth (Dist. 4), the council’s liaison with the city public safety committee and the chairman of the Maryland Municipal League’s Hometown Emergency Preparedness Ad Hoc Committee, said the fires were distressing as they could indicate residents were forgetting home safety procedures.
“It’s way too many fires,” he said.
About 11 a.m. Feb. 2, firefighters were called to an assisted living group home in the 4700 block of Rocky Spring Lane, where they found heavy smoke coming from the attic, said Assistant Fire Chief Alicia Francis, a county fire/EMS spokeswoman. None of the home’s four occupants was injured, Francis said. The blaze, which is being blamed on an accidental furnace malfunction, caused about $75,000 worth of damage, Francis said.
Later that same day, about 8 p.m., firefighters were called to the 1800 block of Price Lane. First responders found a woman trapped in a one-story home that had a fire spreading from its attached garage, the department said in a statement. The woman was rescued, Brady said, and the fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage. The cause remains under investigation, Bashoor said.
The third fire was reported about 12:40 p.m. Feb. 3 in the 12700 block of Kingsfield Lane. The home, which was vacant at the time of the fire, was deemed uninhabitable, and damage was estimated to be $100,000, Brady said. The cause remains under investigation, Bashoor said.
The number of incidents was worrisome, said Monica Best James, leader of the city’s volunteer public safety committee.
“Obviously, I’m concerned,” she said.
The city and the fire department will be looking at new ways to get out fire safety advice and tips, officials said.
“When these things happen, rather than dismiss them and say they’re terrible, why not make them a learning experience?” Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said. “Usually when you have events like this, it sparks interest and focus.”
Residents with questions or concerns about fire safety can contact Teresa Crisman with the fire department’s community outreach office at 301-883-5250. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.