February 20, 2012
First Fire Fatality of 2012 in Montgomery County
|Courtesy of USFA|
At approximately 2:15 a.m. on Monday, February 20, 2012, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service units responded for the report of an apartment fire at 7600 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park. First arriving firefighters encountered a pile of clothes and towels smoldering in a sixth floor apartment. They quickly began care and treatment of a woman suffering from significant burn injuries in the apartment and transported her to the Washington Hospital Center’s MedStar Burn Unit where she later died from injuries sustained in the fire. Officials have released the name of the victim, Charlotte Wilson, age 56 of Takoma Park, Maryland. Another occupant of the residence was assessed and treated on the scene.
The origin and cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County Fire and Explosive Investigation Section. Investigators believe that a cigarette may have started the deadly fire. Damage is estimated at approximately $1,000.
Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths in the
. Fire caused by cigarettes and other
smoking materials are preventable. Montgomery County United
Fire and Rescue Service and the United States Fire Administration recommends the following:
· If you must smoke, smoke outside – most home fires caused by smoking start inside the home. Designate a smoking area and have deep sturdy ashtrays with a wide sturdy base. Put cigarettes out in a can filled with sand or completely soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before disposing. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.
· Check for butts – chairs and sofas can easily ignite and burn fast. Don’t place ashtrays on them and check furniture cushions if people have been smoking in the home.
· Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used – never smoke while using oxygen or near an oxygen source, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes a fire / cigarette burn hotter and faster.
· Be alert – if you are sleepy, have been drinking or have taken medication that makes you drowsy, don’t light up.
f you smoke, fire-safer cigarettes are better – fire-safer cigarettes are less likely to cause fires. These cigarettes have banded paper that can slow the burn of a cigarette that isn’t being used.