Fire caused by ashes stored in a paper bag next to a basement fireplace killed a 13-year-old Oxon Hill girl yesterday and injured her grandmother and aunt, Prince George's County fire officials said.
The girl, Schwanda Holloway, was asleep in her first floor bedroom at 1031 Centennial Dr. when the fire broke out in the basement family room about 3:30 a.m. Holloway, who was overcome by smoke, was pronounced dead at Greater Southeast Community Hospital an hour later.
The girl's grandmother, Daisy Holloway, 68, and her aunt, Susan Goldy, 54, were taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and released. They had been asleep when the fire broke out but managed to escape. The girl's grandfather, William Holloway, escaped unharmed.
Fire officials said the ashes, which had been swept out from a basement fireplace, burned through the bag and ignited furniture in the basement of the one-story brick home. Fire officials estimated the damage at $25,000.
"Ashes can look cold and yet ignite a brown paper bag," said Dr. Blackbourne, a D.C. medical examiner. "With more people using fireplaces and wood stoves, people should be wary about where they put their ashes."