Oxon Hill man burned in fire dies; he tried to fill kerosene space heater while it was lit

An Oxon Hill man died after being burned in a fire that ignited when he tried to pour kerosene into a lighted space heater in his living room early Sunday, fire officials said.

The 50-year-old man, whose name was being withheld until his family could be notified, suffered burns to 70 to 80 percent of his body, according to Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor. He was taken to the Medstar Washington Hospital Burn Center, where he died later Sunday.

Firefighters were summoned to the single-family home in the 5100 block of Boulder Drive at 5:15 a.m. to find that the kerosene had ignited the area of the living room surrounding the heater. The man’s wife had escaped the house, Bashoor said, but the man had not.

Bashoor cautioned against filling space heaters indoors or when they already have been lighted.

“We don’t know whether the vapors caused the fire or whether there was a spill,” he said.

The Boulder Drive fire was the worst of three heater-related incidents in Prince George’s as the weather turned colder this weekend.

“Too many times, we find that proper maintenance has not been done, and that causes the problem,” when heaters are turned on for the first time each fall, Bashoor said.

Thirteen people living in three duplex units on Van Buren Street in Adelphi had to seek temporary housing after a malfunction in an adjacent heat pump caused their building to catch fire on Sunday.

In Upper Marlboro, a woman in the 10000 block of Tyrone Drive was taken to the hospital after experiencing chest pains when she was overcome by gas fumes from a leaking heater unit, Bashoor said.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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