4 hospitalized after townhouse fire in Gaithersburg - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

4 hospitalized after townhouse fire in Gaithersburg

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(Photo: Lauren DeMarco / @ldemarcofox5) (Photo: Lauren DeMarco / @ldemarcofox5)
(Photo: Pete Piringer / @mcfrsPIO) (Photo: Pete Piringer / @mcfrsPIO)

A grandmother from Gaithersburg is out of the hospital after a fire swept through her townhouse Thursday afternoon. Firefighters say the woman helped save several lives.

Four generations of family members have been living inside the home. They bought it just a month ago. However, it is now condemned and the Red Cross has been called in to find them a place to stay.

Two of the adults and two young children were inside when the flames broke out and officials say they are all very lucky to be alive and doing well.

The townhouse along Carousel Court quickly filled with flames and smoke. A woman in her 20s was in the basement where firefighters say the blaze broke out. She was about to take a nap when she heard her grandmother coming down the stairs yelling fire.

There were two toddlers inside, so the young woman ran upstairs to get them out. She also called 911 as did several neighbors.

The woman's grandmother stayed in the basement and attempted to fight the flames.

The woman told us that when she tried to go back in to help her grandmother, the smoke was too thick.

Fortunately, the grandmother, who is in her 60s, was eventually able to make it out as well.

“The grandmother potentially saved some lives here, but she put her own life at great risk by attempting to fight the fire,” said Pete Piringer, spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue. “We recommend you don’t do that. Have a plan, know what to do ahead of time, get out and stay out.”

Both women and the two- and three-year-old girls were all transported to the hospital. The younger three were quickly treated and released. The grandmother's injuries were at first considered life-threatening, but by Tuesday night, officials say she was ready to be released as well.

The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental. Officials say a lamp overturned onto a mattress near an electrical box. Investigators believe the fire cut the power to the home and the smoke detectors, which did not have back up batteries installed.

Firefighters went door to door in the neighborhood and checked out 27 townhomes. 15 did not have working smoke alarms and fire officials are hoping this serves as a wakeup call.

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