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Reported backdraft at Maryland house fire. Prince George’s County firefighters mounting an interior attack were uninjured. Explosion blows firefighters more than 15 feet.

The pictures on this page are by PGFD Firefighter/Medic Joseph A. Gegor of Paramedic 846. They are described as conditions on arrival.
The pictures on this page are by PGFD Firefighter/Medic Joseph A. Gegor of Paramedic 846. They are described as conditions on arrival.

PGFD PIO Blog

Kentland VFD website

Firefighters in Prince George’s County, Maryland say a backdraft occurred during a house fire Sunday evening in the Woodmore section of the county. Despite firefighters operating inside the home at the time of the explosion, no one was injured.

MD PG Woodmore 1The fire was reported just before 9:00 PM at 2304 Prima Way. According to information provided by Prince George’s County Fire/ EMS Department Chief Spokesman Mark Brady, there was fire showing from the garage when the first crews arrived. The large, two-story, single-family home had residential sprinklers.

As the firefighters began an interior attack, started ventilation and mounted a search for occupants, the fire was extending to the second floor and attic. About eight minutes into the incident an explosion occurred. It was described by the incident commander, Kentland VFD Chief Tony Kelleher, as a “backdraft”.

Here is an excerpt from Brady’s release early this morning:

Firefighters standing at the front door of the house were blown 15-20 feet into the front yard, firefighters performing exterior ventilation reported their helmets being blown off, windows were blown out and Volunteer Chief Kelleher described a “fire-ball” that blew out of the attic area on the opposite side of where the fire had originated.MD PG Woodmore 3

Not immediately knowing the status of all firefighters, Incident Command requested additional resources to the scene and ordered the evacuation of all personnel from the house. Paramedics tended to two firefighters that were blown into the front yard and a personnel accountability check was performed with all personnel being accounted for.

No firefighters required hospitalization. The three people who live in the house were not home when the fire broke out.

According to Brady, the unsprinklered garage and attic areas are the only portions of the home that had significant fire damage. Damage to the home is estimated at $250,000.

Side A aftermath photo by PGFD's Mark Brady.

Side A aftermath photo by PGFD's Mark Brady.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • 5900 M.P.

    Gegor, this is one where you would put your flaps down.

  • Anonymous

    “According to Brady, the unsprinklered garage and attic areas are the only portions of the home that had significant fire damage. Damage to the home is estimated at $250,000.”

    Guess they really DO work! Glad to see that no FF’s were injured.

  • On Scene FF

    Let’s get this story straight.

    There was no backdraft. The roof of the garage collapsed causing a rush of air into the house which moved air into the structure and briefly fed any open fires. There was no outward explosion. No helmets were blown off. No FF were blown out or down. No windows were blown out (they were knocked out manually). The one FF that briefly collapsed in the front yard had an encounter in the house where a ceiling came down on him and his mask was knocked off.

    >FF on the scene

  • Mike

    Sounds more to me like a flashover. Of course, a backdraft sounds so much better than flashover.

  • Fire Myth

    Sounds like the yahoo’s of Kentland at it again…..blowing everything out of proportion……

  • Anonymous

    To the individuals attempting to start the bash session on here, there was infact a backdraft that occured in the attic area of the home. It had so much force that it blew out the right side of the home around the roof area (click on the pgfdblog to view a picture of this). It also sent the Chief from the West Lanham Hills VFD across the front yard from the front doorway and slammed the front door. The ceiling collapsed when the backdraft occured in the attic. Thus nearly injuring a career fire captain from Company 46 when it came down. But, definatly shook him up. I seriously doubt the “firefighter on the scene” was just that. How about we concentrate on the fact that nobody was seriously injured or killed. Let’s spend more time learning from an incident that could have had a tragic outcome. Let’s see if the members that nearly had a bad day would agree with the “yahoos” on this comment board starting typical internet BS about something they were sitting on their couch listening to. I witnessed the backdraft occur and I was “on the scene”.

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  • Stay Safe

    I have to agree with the above reply, I to was on the scene and can give first hand knowledge of what happened. Yes a chief was blown from the front door area across the yard and later transported to an area hospital, he was later released with minor injuries. The helmets were blown off the head of two firefighter on side Delta when the explosion took place. As for the catain from 46, he took a serious blow when the ceiling and trusses came down, and hopefully he is doing ok. This was not your run of the mill house fire we normally see, and people should take a good look at how things go bad real quick. Next time we may not be so lucky to have everyone go home.

  • firedawg1502

    the most important part is everyone went home. maybe a little shaken, but home with family. looks like considering the circumstances ( general size of structure) that your boys made a good stop. great work guys.

  • Anonymous

    I would be interested in learning from this incident… here you have a relatively new home, undoubtedly energy-efficient and tight. So… the fire extended to the attic, used up all the available oxygen in this tight space and then caused a backdraft when oxygen was provided into this space. How was oxygen provided? Did someone pull ceilings, or did the ceiling collapse occur immediately before the backdraft? Or did the roof collapse push oxygen into this area? How could this backdraft have been prevented? Would the backdraft have occurred if the roof of the house had been opened up? There are lots of these types of homes around – whatever findings and recommendations are learned need to be shared.

  • fireman 43

    “Thus nearly injuring a career fire captain from Company 46 when it came down. But, definatly shook him up”

    Wow I hope he is O.K someone told me that someone from 43 “saved” him keep up the good work guys!

  • Anonymous

    I believe that was a flashover if anything , but all that matters is no one got hurt .

  • Mark Meaker in Logan Utah

    We have experienced the same thing in the Cache Valley of Utah (near Logan City). Usually when this type of backdraft occurs in the attic of a structure that is already opened up, it’s usually caused by one of two possible sources of air introduction into the attic: either someone starts up a fan for positive pressure ventilation (without adequately evaluating the attic for backdraft condition) OR a fog nozzle gets injected into either the attic directly (i.e., through exterior attic vents) or indirectly via fog stream injection into the main body of the house which then pushes air into the concealed space. In any case, the lessons I have learned over 39 years of firefighting (first in California and now in Utah) is that the attic must always be evaluated for backdraft potential BEFORE beginning PPV or injecting a fog stream into the attic space.

    Glad everyone was safe . . . our incident blew two chief officers out of the garage and sent one of them to the hospital with pretty serious burns! Nice stop on the rest of the house.

  • FF Specialist

    The scientific definition of Flashover states it is caused by the radiation feedback of heat. there is O2 in a room where flashover occurs . The heat builds until flashover occurs, Everything in a rooms simultaeneously burns, not an explosion.
    A Backdraft is a situation which can occur when a fire is starved of oxygen; consequently combustion ceases but the fuel gases and smoke remain at very high temperature. If oxygen is re-introduced to the fire, eg. by opening a door to a closed room, combustion can restart often resulting in an explosive effect as the gases heat and expand.
    definitly a backdraft at this scene.

  • Anonymous

    any one think that could have been cause by the gas tank letting go????

  • Anonymous

    Everyone there should get a letter of commendation especially the photographer.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry they will!

  • ST6767

    I would like to see NIST do a study of this fire, and others like it, to see if they can replicate why the backdraft occurred. They can do computer modeling like they have with several fires in the past, and come up with a definitive conclusion.
    Fortunately, everyone went home, a little battered and bruised, but hopefully the wiser. Good job to all the brothers and sisters on the fire.