2 Firefighters In Critical Condition After Pr. George's Blaze

Wind blew through home, causing instant inferno

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012  |  Updated 10:38 PM EDT
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Darcy Spencer reports on the progress of two firefighters injured in a Riverdale, MD house fire on Friday.  Families of the firefighters also spoke to the media.

Darcy Spencer

Darcy Spencer reports on the progress of two firefighters injured in a Riverdale, MD house fire on Friday. Families of the firefighters also spoke to the media.

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Seven Firefighters Burned in House Fire

Derrick Ward reports on a house fire that burned seven firefighters, two critically.
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Two firefighters remain hospitalized after they and five of their colleagues were injured battling a blaze in Prince George’s County Friday night.

Bladensburg Volunteer Firefighter Ethan Sorrell, 21, is in critical but stable condition with burns to his airway. As of Sunday afternoon, he remains intubated and can only communicate by writing notes. He is scheduled to undergo an examination to determine the extent of his injuries Monday.

Kevin O'Toole, 22, also a Bladensburg volunteer firefighter, is in critical but stable condition with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body. He is scheduled to undergo a skin graft procedure on Monday. O'Toole's father, Jeff, has stated that his son will spend at least six weeks in the burn unit at Washington Hospital Center before undergoing another six months of physical rehabilitation after that.

Riverdale volunteer firefighter Michael McLary, 19, was released Saturday after suffering bruised ribs and burns to both his hands. The other four firefighters had already been released.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker issued the following statement after visiting the hospital:

“My thoughts and prayers are with these brave men and their families and I ask all County residents to do the same. Our first responders put their lives on the line every day and I know that they are all effected by this tragic incident. I appreciate their service and their commitment to our residents’ safety and security.

"Furthermore, I want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Washington Hospital Center burn unit for their compassion and care of these courageous men. I also want to thank the regional fire and emergency community for their thoughts, outreach and concern.”

The fire broke out shortly after 9 p.m. Friday at a single-family, single-story home in the 6400 block of 57th Street in Riverdale. Firefighters were trying to enter the building when a rush of air from the rear of the house created a fireball that engulfed the respondents, investigators said. According to Prince George's Fire Spokesman Mark Brady, the sudden rush of air was caused by either a door or window being opened or broken out.

In all, about 65 firefighters responded to the blaze. Of the four firefighters released, three were from Riverdale and one was from College Park.

Brady said that the home appeared to be vacant, though a car was parked in the driveway. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and loss estimates were not immediately available.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for more details as they become available.

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