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Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Apartment Fire, Causing over $2 Million in Damages

January 07, 2020

Over 132 people displaced in latest in string of Maryland fires

Silver Spring, MD – Over 130 people have been left without a home following a three-alarm fire in Lanham, Maryland. The blaze ignited a multi-family apartment home, tearing through all four buildings in the complex. More than 100 firefighters and medical personnel responded to the wood-framed building fire, which created $2.2 million worth of damage.

Residents rushed to flee the building, many fearing for the safety of their pets and personal belongings. As a group of firefighters battled the flames on the top floor of the building, the roof collapsed and separated the response team. The Prince George's County Fire Department fought for hours to get the fire under control as flame and smoke could be seen through the roof.

This fire is the latest in a string of disturbing and destructive building fires throughout Maryland. Prince George's County alone has seen several devastating building fires recently, including an April 2017 blaze that was the largest fire suppression effort in the history of Prince George's County, causing $39 million of damages. Many of these fires, in Maryland and throughout the country, have been exacerbated by the use of combustible building materials.

“Lawmakers must recognize the incredible danger of fire tied to weak building codes and risky building materials, in Prince George's County and across the nation” said Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire safety professionals, engineers, architects and industry experts committed to strengthening the nation's building codes and ensuring greater access to secure housing. “So many have lost their homes, memories, and even loved ones due to preventable fires in combustible buildings. These fires have incredible impact on families and communities throughout the country – everyone deserves a safe, strong, resilient place to live, and the time to act is now.”

Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA), has launched a campaign to educate citizens, local and state officials, and industry experts about the inherent dangers of wood-framed construction, particularly in multi-story, residential and commercial buildings. As a grassroots organization, they work with local elected officials and industry workers, from architects to project managers to advocate for the safety benefits of working with concrete-based construction.

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