One man and two of his daughters died in a house fire early Thursday morning in Glenarden, Md.
The girls who died were aged 4 and 8, News4's Tony Tull reported from the scene.Their father was 36.
Another daughter, 11, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. The 33-year-old mother and twin sister of the deceased 8-year-old girl escaped the home through a window.
Fires seem to be on the rise in Prince George's County, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor told News4. Thursday, not far from the fatal fire, another fire ripped through a home in Prince George's County. That fire started around 9:30 a.m. on 92nd Avenue in Springdale; no one was hurt.
Thursday's deaths bring the total fire-related deaths in the county to eight in 2013 compared to 10 in 2012.
In response to the uptick, the fire department will begin a public safety education campaign in the county today. Firefighters will canvass nearby neighborhoods, knocking on doors to check or hand out smoke detectors.
The fatal fire in the single-story brick home in the 8600 block of Leslie Avenue broke out about 4 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found flames and heavy smoke.
A search of the home found the four victims. All were not breathing and had no pulse when they were taken from the home; firefighters had to perform CPR at the scene.
Bashoor reported that rescuers were able to restore the pulse of one of the 11-year-old girl. She is in critical condition in a local hospital.
The two who escaped the home are in stable condition.
The home was destroyed, Tull reported. An investigation is continuing, but member of the victims' extended family told News4 that kerosene heaters had recently been in use at the home.
No smoke alarm was found at the scene.
"I don't know yet if it was smoke or fire that caused the deaths and won't know that for some time, but I can tell you that smoke is that silent killer and that's where smoke alarms come in, and I can tell you that a smoke alarm would have given them an extra measure of chance that I can tell you they didn't have," Bashoor said.
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, but many more may need psychological counseling.
"It is heartbreaking, especially when there are children involved," Deputy Chief Benjamin Barksdale
said. "We practice to perform at our best, and the guys did an admirable job."