Two brothers, aged 2 and 4, were killed in a College park motel fire yesterday and their mother was injured as she tried to rescue her sons.
Two-year old James Croson and 4 year-old Stony Burt Cronson died about noon in an as-yet-unexplained fire that ravaged the family's cottage at the College Park Motel, Prince George's County fire officials reported.
Deborah Croson, the 28-year-old mother, said she had just stepped outside when the fire broke out and smoked billowed out of the cottage. "I don't know how long I stood out there trying to get in. When it's your babies in there it seems like days."
The family had moved to the cottage one year ago when they came to Prince George's from Fairfax County. "It was hard to rent a house here. With three little ones they'd look at us and think we'd wreck the place. At the motel at least we got a break. She was working up front, running the office and she could take the little ones up with her," said her husband Welby Croson.
County firefighters arrived at 12:08 yesternoon afternoon and put out the fire before it spread much beyond the Croson's cotage at 8419 Baltimore Ave. The cottage was destroyed.
Welby Croson was at work in Southeast Washington. Their third and oldest child, 10-year old Welby, was at school. "The place caught on fire in such a hurry, it went up so fast, my wife couldn't do anything," he explained.
The family lost all its possessions and savings in the half-hour blaze.
Both parents said they were disturbed and angry about newly installed smoke detectors that failed to alert them. The motel managers would not comment on the fire.
At Prince George's General Hospital, where Deborah Croson was treated for burns on her face and cuts on her hands, the parents siad they would move back to another cottage at the motel that evening since they had no other place to go.
"Everything we had, all our own furniture and what little we had saved up is gone," said Welby Croson, a heavy equipment mechanic for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. "We didn have fire insurance."
Yesterday Deborah Croson said she had just finished feeding her children when she stepped outside the cottage on the way to the front lobby when the smoke came rushing out.
"I really don't know what happened I got back as far as the living room but I couldn't get to the bedroom, tried to break the windows from the outside but I couldn't get in," she said.
Although they were both born and raised in Fairfax County, the couple said they had no relatives left in the Washington area. A representative ofthe Prince George's chapter of the Red Cross told them yesterday that they would would receive some help from that organization.