A three-alarm fire consumed a Suitland, Md., apartment building early Saturday morning, leaving one man dead.
Firefighters responded to the report of a fire at 3362 Curtis Drive at about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday. There, they found a fierce blaze on the building's terrace level and rear side. The fire extended from there through the upper floors, reaching the roof.
Thick heat and smoke blocked the central stairwell, forcing residents to retreat to their balconies. Using ground ladders, firefighters rescued several residents who had become trapped outside their homes.
After containing the blaze, Prince George's County Fire and Emergency Medical Services discovered a 27-year-old man deceased in the apartment where they believe the fire originated.
Three civilians are being treated at area hospitals. Paramedics transported one woman who suffered a minor burn and a man who experienced trouble breathing. One woman who suffered smoke inhalation was taken to a hospital by her family members.
Three firefighters also suffered injuries. Two suffered minor burns, and one experienced hypertension. They were all taken to area hospitals.
It is expected that everyone will be treated and released today.
During the blaze, an attached apartment building at 3364 Curtis Drive also caught fire. Personnel were forced to evacuate the building as the blaze intensified.
Almost 100 firefighters and paramedics responded to the fire, bring some 30 pieces of apparatus to the scene in response to the second and third alarms.
By 7:00 a.m., the fire was largely contained, freeing firefighters to re-enter the building to continue searches and extinguish the fire.
Twenty-four families will be displaced by the fire, according to official estimates. The Prince George's County Fire and EMS Citizen Services Unit, Red Cross and Carriage Hill apartment complex management are assisting resident who lost their homes today.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Prince George's County Police Department homicide detectives will assist in determining the cause of the man's death and the origin of the fire: standard policy whenever a death is involved.