Frederick Making Changes Following Slow Response to Fatal Fire

Officials: It took Myersville volunteer firefighters more than an hour to reach a house fire three miles away

|  Friday, Apr 5, 2013  |  Updated 10:01 PM EDT
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Two Girls Killed in Maryland Fire

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Delayed Response to Deadly Fire Questioned

Frederick County is investigating why a fire crew was delayed in responding to a fire in a Myersville home that killed two young girls.

Baseboard Heaters to Blame for House Fires

The cause of two recent fires in Maryland have been identified. Drapes were too close to a baseboard heater in the case of a Myersville fire that killed two small girls.
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Frederick County is considering changing some of its fire procedures after an investigation revealed two fire trucks got lost on the way to a fire that killed two young girls in January.

One truck -- the closest to the fire -- got lost, then became stuck in a ditch, reported News4's Erika Gonzalez. A second truck initially went down the wrong road to the house. That truck corrected and responded within eight minutes.

The bungled response was revealed by an internal review conducted by the county.

"The only way we can look our community in the eye with this particular incident is by being willing to say that this is not our best response," said Tom Owens, director of fire and rescue services in Frederick. "And our obligation to the community is to do everything that we can after finding out these facts to correct the problem."

The county is looking at ways to improve communication and how firefighters get directions.

However, Owens and neighbors both said a faster response would not have saved 3-year-old Madigan Lillard and her 6-year-old sister Sophie.

About 75 firefighters and 40 fire and rescue units from Frederick and Washington counties responded, but the blaze moved fast and was so intense that it continued to burn for more than an hour.

The fire began after a short in a baseboard heater set drapes on fire.

The two Lillard sisters died of smoke inhalation. Their parents and two other sisters, an infant and an 8-year-old, were treated at local hospitals.


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