Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Five treated for minor injuries after fire at Wheaton duplex

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Two Wheaton residents and three firefighters were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries they suffered Thursday morning in a fire at a two-story duplex in Wheaton.

The cause of the fire, which began 4:30 a.m. at 12012 Claridge Road, is under investigation, said Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. Damage is estimated at $35,000, Garcia said.

Garcia said the initial call reported that everyone was out of the home. However, when rescue personnel arrived, a 54-year-old woman who lived there said her baby was still inside the house. Firefighters searched the home looking for a baby without realizing the woman was referring to her 21-year-old daughter, whom she thought was in the house but was not home at the time. The woman’s 18-year-old son, however, was home and suffered minor smoke inhalation. The woman also suffered minor injuries, including a twisted ankle. Both were taken to the hospital.

Fire code inspectors found no working smoke detectors in the home, Garcia said.

Three firefighters also were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries, including ankle and back injuries and minor burns, after two of them fell through the first floor into the basement. They were assisted by other firefighters and rescued through a basement door, Garcia said.

One of the firefighters remained in the hospital as of Tuesday afternoon. The other two have been released.

The fire displaced all five occupants of the side of the duplex where the fire started. The family on the other side of the duplex was not affected.

The fire is believed to have started on the first floor near the stairwell, but Garcia said the investigation is still under way.