Woman Dies; Husband Injured In Aspen Hill House Fire

4:59 PM, Nov 3, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Two Seriously Injured In Aspen Hill House Fire

A fire in Aspen Hill severely injured 2 people in the home.

ASPEN HILL, Md. (WUSA) -- One woman is dead and her husband is in the hospital, after an early morning house fire in Aspen Hill, emergency crews said.  The woman has been identified as 67-year-old Sandra Vidas.

The cause of the fire in the 4700 block of Iris Street remains under investigation, but neighbors believe the homeowners' alleged hoarding could be to blame. 

"I've always said that if this house ever caught on fire, it would go up like a tinderbox," said Bill Fisher, a neighbor for more than thirty-years.

In March of 2010, the homeowners violated Montgomery County Housing Codes for having "boxes, ladders, chair cushions, and lamps in their yard."  The home also had no working fire alarms.

Firefighters were out Thursday evening canvassing the neighborhood, checking smoke alarms and handing out fire safety information to residents in the wake of this fatal fire in an effort to prevent another tragedy. Firefighters will also be out again across the County on Saturday as part of the department's annual "Change Your Clock/Check Your Battery" fire safety campaign.

Fire Chief Richard Bowers is reminding all residents to install and regularly check residential smoke alarms and review their Home Escape Plans. Residents should know two ways out of every room in the home and have a predetermined meeting place. Residents in need of smoke alarms or batteries should call 311 for assistance.

Captain Oscar Garcia, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire Department, says the blaze was first reported just before 4:00 Thursday morning in the 4700 block of Iris Street. Capt. Crews arriving on scene found a large fire inside a single family home and a man in his 60's who had escaped the flames.  He was taken to a local hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. He remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries Thursday evening.

Firefighters thought they had rescued the woman from one of the bedrooms of the burning home.  Garcia says she was unconscious and unresponsive when she was transported with life-threatening injuries. She ended up dying at the hospital.  According to Garcia, two of the firefighters were also taken to the hospital with minor burn injuries.

Fire crews brought the blaze under control after approximately 35 minutes.  Garcia says there are unconfirmed reports that the blaze may have been gas-fed.  Intense conditions forced the crews to evacuate the building approximately 20 minutes after the began to attack the flames.

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