Chief's Blog

Saturday, December 10, 2011

News Advisory: Takoma Park Fire - Fatality


IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2011

Rockville, Md. - - - Walter Rave, age 66, died of complications from burn injuries
sustained in a house fire at 29 Holt Place, Takoma Park, Maryland. The fire occurred on
December 7, 2011 at 2:00 a.m.

The fire caused approximately $300K damage to the structure and $100K to the
contents.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue units arrived on the scene and found a large 2
story wood frame house with heavy fire on the front exterior with moderate extension to
the interior. Mr. Rave was in the front yard.

Firefighters extinguished the fire with some difficulty due to the very large amounts of
accumulated personal belongings inside the structure. Additionally, all exits other than the front door were either blocked by security bars, and an extensive amount of bamboo growth on the exterior of the home.

The victim was awakened by the fire. It is unclear how. With the front door being his only means of egress he was forced to pass through the large volume of fire on the front porch. In doing so he suffered extensive burn injuries to his body.

The fire originated in the engine compartment of a Toyota pick-up truck parked in the
driveway. Radiant heat from this fire ignited either the nearby porch railing or ordinary
combustibles on the porch. The fire is ruled accidental.

This is the fifth fire related death in Montgomery County in 2011.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue’s Fire and Explosive Investigations Section along
with Takoma Park City Police are continuing the investigation.

3 comments:

Bill Brown said...

A lot of implied blame here laid on the victim because his house was packed with belongings, surrounded by thick bamboo, and the exits were heavily secured.

Then it breezes past the actual cause of the fire, which had nothing to do with the victim's eccentricities, as though there's nothing unusual or worrisome about a new truck self-igniting in the middle of the night.

Oh, it was just "accidental."

Karin said...

How can they say a cold truck self igniting is accidental ?????????

billd said...

@Karin, the term accidental is used so as to underscore it was not an arson type (deliberately set) fire.

@Bill Brown: this posting is mainly geared toward our media/news/journalist readers and is written to provide them all of the facts as we know them. Again, the term “accidental” merely means the fire was not deliberately set. I am sure the investigation will continue and will attempt to determine what exactly went wrong. However, sometimes the extent of damage is such that an exact cause may never be determined.

Best Regards,

Bill Delaney
Program Manager - Community Safety Education & Social Media