LAUREL, Md. (WJLA) – It was a wild weekend and now it's a wild start to the week for Prince George's County firefighters. Every 12 hours, they have had to sound their sirens and battle yet another blaze. And nearly every time, candles were the cause.
“Flames are just spitting out of the roof,” said Joyce Maynard while as dozens of firefighters went to work.
She witnessed two families lose their homes on Monday afternoon after fire tore through their Landover duplex on Greenleaf Road.
“It’s scary,” she admitted. “It scared the hell out of me."
Fortunately, a working smoke alarm got everyone inside the burning home outside safely.
“We’re just thankful,” said Corine Hatch. “Thankful that everybody is out of the house [and] nobody is injured."
Hatch is keeping positive amid tragedy. Her grandmother watched the home she's lived in for decades go up in smoke.
“It does appear to have started in the bedroom, extended up into the attic area where it eventually burnt through the roofs of this duplex home," explained Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Chief Spokesman Mark Brady.
Prince George's County firefighters are still searching for what sparked Monday’s blaze. It’s the fourth fire they’ve put out in just as many days.
“It seems like every 12 hours firefighters are hitting the street going to another house fire," said Brady.
He says three weekend fires in Temples Hills, Laurel and Woodmore were caused by candles.
“The candles that look good while they're burning,” explained Brady. “They have a wonderful aroma [and] they provide an excellent atmosphere, but people need to realize that is an open flame that can ignite combustibles."
Forty-two home candle fires are reported every day, and more than a third of them begin in the bedroom.
“It’s a wakeup call, but I make sure when I light candles, I put them out," said Kenney Vines who lives across the street from the most recent fire.
Luckily none of these fires caused any major injuries, but firefighters say they should serve as a major reminder: Never leave a candle unattended.
For more information, visit pgfdpio.blogspot.com.