ORIGINAL PGFD INVESTIGATION WITH PIC/GRAPHICS / this is a Safety Investigation Team Report a pdf file
As you may recall, on February 24, 2012, at 2111 hours, Prince George's County (Maryland) Fire & EMS Department members responded to a dwelling fire at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale Heights.
Upon arrival, Firefighters had fire extending out of a basement window, pressurized smoke on the first floor, and high winds impacting the rear of the structure.
Shortly after arriving, firefighters forced the front door of the structure, which immediately changed the fire's flow path and dynamics by adding a ventilation opening above the fire. This situation was intensified by weather conditions (high winds impacting the rear of the structure). Firefighters entered the structure through the front door, placing themselves above the basement fire and in its outflow path. This exposed them to high velocity and high temperature gases. Two (2) firefighters were trapped on the first floor without the protection of a hose line, when the front door shut behind them and changed the fire's flow path. The hot smoke and gases that were coming up the interior stairwell and escaping out the front door were now contained to the first floor. This dropped the smoke layer to the floor and temporarily increased the temperatures from floor to ceiling in the front room where the firefighters were trapped.
One (1) firefighter was able to self-rescue through a front window and the other firefighter was removed through the front door by other firefighters. The fire in the basement was burning unchecked, until an engine company entered the basement from the rear of the structure and began putting water on the fire. Ultimately seven (7) firefighters were injured; the two (2) firefighters that were trapped on the first floor sustained the most significant burn injuries.
At the request of PGFD, NIST has studied and re-created this fire so that we all have an opportunity to further learn and understand fire behavior.