Occupants Safely Escape & Credit Fire Sprinkler System
On December 5, 2018 tragedy was averted because of working smoke alarms and a residential sprinkler in an independent senior living facility in the Fairland/Calverton area. Around 6:45 p.m., units from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to 12801 Old Columbia Pike, Arbor Crest, a two-story, senior independent living facility, for an 'automatic' medical alarm for an unknown emergency. Paramedic Engine 724 responded to the scene and encountered moderate smoke on the second floor, at which additional fire and rescue units were dispatched. upon further investigation, moments later Firefighters located a small fire in a bedroom. The fire which involved a mattress and some other nearby combustibles was controlled by a residential sprinkler system. The fire was mostly out. In the meantime, some of the building had been evacuated and other portions were shelter and protect in place. Firefighters located and rescued/relocated a feline (cat) from the apartment of origin.
Fire and Explosive Investigators believe one of the residents of the apartment of origin had been consumed alcohol and was smoking cigarettes in the bedroom and at some point fell asleep. Another resident was in another room and heard the smoke alarm activate. Upon investigation and in an effort to check on his wife, he discovered a fire on the mattress by the pillows with his wife still on the bed. He was able to rouse her and then attempted to extinguish the fire, to no avail. After numerous attempts of trying to put out the fire, both occupants evacuated the apartment. In the commotion of those efforts a medical alarm was somehow activated, automatically alerting 911 for an unknown medical emergency. An ambulance and Paramedic Engine were dispatched. The residential sprinkler activated after the occupants had left the area & prior to arrival of emergency personnel. The sprinkler essentially controlled and extinguished the fire. There were no injuries associated with the fire. Damage was estimated to $30,000.
It should be noted, none of the occupants called 911 to report the fire.
The Community Outreach Senior Program Manager and crews from the area fire/rescue crews (First Battalion) are scheduled to revisit the facility to meet with residents, review best practices and talk about fire safety and reminding residents of the importance of calling 911 in an emergency.