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Heavy Fire in 10,000 Square Foot Huntingtown Mega Mansion Injuring 9 Firefighters
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By Chief Jonathan Riffe
March 19, 2011

Official Press Release:

At 2356 hours on Saturday March 19, 2011, the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department was alerted for the reported Chimney Fire at 3380 Soper Road in Huntingtown. While en-route, firefighters received information that the owner was trying to extinguish the fire and believed it had spread to the attic. Units alerted were: Chief 6A (Montgomery), Chief 6C (Morris), Safety 6 (McKenny), Lieutenant 6 (Buckler), Engine 62 (Smith), Engine 61 (Gaylor), Squad 6 (Wallace), Tanker 6 (Robison), Brush 6 (Montgomery Jr), Ambulance 68 (Jeffery, M) and Ambulance 69 (Bevard).

Chief 6C arrived to find smoke showing from the second floor eves of a 10,000 square foot mega-mansion. Engine 62 arrived, laying a supply line, advancing the 400' pre-connect and began pulling the ceiling, at which time; they found fire in the attic spreading rapidly. Within seconds, conditions deteriorated significantly resulting in zero visibility and intense heat. Command immediately ordered evacuation tones. Due to high winds off the river, water supply issues, distance from the fire house, and the size of the structure (10,000 square feet), fire spread rapidly. Immediately thereafter, the second floor flashed over resulting in nine firefighters being injured, five from Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department and four from Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department. As a result of the unbearable heat, several firefighters took extreme measures such as jumping out of windows and running through walls to evacuate the structure. Chief 6A immediately ordered a Full Second Alarm with two Tankers. Later in the incident, additional units were Special Alarmed to the scene. On scene were several ambulances and medics providing care to the injured firefighters. Although units from Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, Anne Arundel, and Prince Georges were utilized, fire spread in such a rapid manner that the home is considered a total loss.

Two of the Huntingtown firefighters were seriously injured and transported by aviation to Washington Hospital Center. The other seven firefighters were transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Subsequently, six of those initially transported to Calvert Memorial, two from Huntingtown and four from Prince Frederick, were transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma and Washington MedStar for follow-up evaluation and treatment for smoke inhalation. All seven firefighters have since been released.

With regards to the two firefighters air lifted to Washington Hospital Center, one of the firefighters is in stable condition with second degree burns to hands, neck, and face. He is expected to be released in two to three days. The second firefighter, the more seriously injured of the two, suffered respiratory burns, in addition to second degree burns to his hands, neck, and face regions. He is conscious and fully alert, but remains in serious condition. It is unknown at this time when he is expected to be released from Washington Hospital Center.

The Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department appreciates all the Community, County, and State support that has been provided or offered.

Fire Chief Jonathan Riffe
President Eugene Farrell

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