After 2 Deaths, Firefighters Go Door-To-Door in Prince George’s County

Prince George's County fire went door-to-door in the Capitol Heights and Bowie areas Friday afternoon to make sure families have working smoke alarms and an escape plan in the event of a fire.

Their efforts come after two fatal fires in the county over the Christmas holiday.

The first fire was reported around 11 a.m. Wednesday in Bowie. Firefighters at the scene were able to rescue 83-year-old Kenneth Sowter, but he later died of smoke inhalation. There was no smoke detector in the home.

And in the early-morning hours of Thursday, 84-year-old Fannie Kirkland was killed in her Capitol Heights home by a fire. Her son was awakened by a smoke alarm, but intense heat and smoke prevented him from reaching his mother in time.

He went next door to Derek Frisby's home for help. 

"We got a grip of [Fannie's] hands and then they just slipped. There was no second chance. By that time, the smoke and fire was so intense there was nothing we could do," Frisby said, with tears streaming down his face. "She's not suffering [anymore]."

Fannie Kirkland had worked as a psychiatric nurse at Prince George's Medical Center and as a nurse in Prince George's County before retiring.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor says he takes every lost life personally because smoke alarms save lives. 

"In the last year we've had over 3 dozen documented cases where smoke alarms have gone off and and alerted residents to fires," he said. "[In] every one of those instances residents got out unharmed."

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