Woman Killed in Maryland House Fire

A woman who died after a house fire in Capitol Heights, Maryland, early Friday morning had been mourning her husband, who died two weeks earlier. 

Elaine James, 80, and her adult son were inside their home on the 6800 block of Wilburn Drive when the fire started about 3:15 a.m. James' son was able to get out of the house on his own, but the woman was trapped in an upper floor bedroom. 

When firefighters arrived, they searched for James and found her unconscious.

"We had to deal with some bars on the windows and doors, and because of the heavy fire conditions and the report of somebody trapped, we sent firefighters in,” said Mark Brady, of Prince George's County Fire and EMS.

She was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died a short time later, fire officials said.

Elaine and Lawrence James lived in the house together for more than 35 years until he recently died of an illness.

James' son, who is in his 50s, was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. 

"I feel so bad for him because he just lost his father, now he's got to turn around and bury his mother," neighbor Lon Johnson said.

An injured firefighter is recovering at a burn unit.

Fire officials said there were no working smoke detectors in the home. The fire began in the area of the stove and has been deemed accidental in nature. 

Anyone in the county who cannot their own smoke alarm is urged to call 311 and ask about the fire department's smoke alarm program. A firefighter will come to your home and install a smoke detector for free. 

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