First Responders Honored for Battling Historic College Park Apartment Fire

WASHINGTON — College Park officials honored first responders and support organizations that rushed to the scene last month and battled the largest fire in Prince George’s County’s history.

“We invited representatives of the many different fire and police agencies who worked together,” said College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn of the ceremony held on Tuesday.

One by one, Wojahn handed out certificates to various departments, recognizing their “team work, efforts and bravery” as an audience at City Hall cheered and applauded.

Those recognized included officials from Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties, as well as agencies from D.C. and the University of Maryland.

“It really showed that we live in a great region, and that as a region we are able to work together,” said Wojahn. “This incident could have resulted in much greater damage.”

More than 300 firefighters, EMTs and support personnel responded when the five-alarm fire broke out on April 24 at the Fuse 47 apartment building, which had been under construction.

It took more than six hours to control the fire and then several days to completely extinguish it.

The investigation is ongoing, but the preliminary cause appears to be accidental, officials said.

“Fire investigators conducted numerous interviews with construction workers that were in the area where the fire started,” said Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady. “That has led them to believe that the cause is going to be accidental.”

Damage to Fuse 47 was extensive, and it will need to be rebuilt.

Sprinkler systems were installed but not yet connected, and fire doors designed to block a fire from spreading had not yet been put in place. The building was slated to have 250 apartments, retail stores and a parking garage and was scheduled for occupancy in July 2017.

The incident drew the largest fire response in the history of Prince George’s County and caused an estimated $39 million in damage — the most significant the county has ever seen.

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