One person was seriously injured and more than a dozen Prince George's families displaced following four fires late Thursday and early New Year's Day, county fire officials reported.
The first fire, which began at 11:05 p.m. New Year's Eve at 9560 Muirkirk Rd. in Laurel, left at least six families homeless and caused an estimated $290,000 in damage to a garden apartment building.
Officials said the fire started in a second-floor apartment, perhaps through misuse of smoking materials, and burned through the third floor to the roof. The Laurel Rescue Squad reported that two firefighters, treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns, suffered the only injuries.
Two adjacent buildings sustained smoke and water damage, and more than 100 families in the apartment complex lost water and electrical power for several hours, officials said. Power was restored at about 5 a.m.
All six families whose apartments were severely damaged have been relocated within the complex, according to a spokesman for the Prince George's County chapter of the American Red Cross.
A second fire at a Laurel garden apartment building, at 901 Fourth St., started at 1:50 a.m. and was discovered by volunteer rescue workers returning from the first blaze. It spread from a second-floor apartment to the third floor, causing damage estimated at $60,000.
Robert Smith, 28, in whose apartment officials said the fire began, was taken first to Prince George's General Hospital and then to the Washington Hospital Center's Med-Star unit. He is reported in critical condition.
Fire officials said Smith suffered second- and third-degree burns over 43 percent of his body and lacerations when he jumped two stories from a window. Laurel Rescue Chief Alan Good, who spotted the blaze, evacuated the building and treated Smith until an ambulance arrived.
No other injuries were reported, but six families lost their homes. A Red Cross spokesman said that one would be relocated within the apartment complex and the other five are being sheltered by family and friends.
Another fire began minutes later, at 2:06 a.m., at M.V. Templeton Roofers, 4206 37th St. in Brentwood. There were no injuries reported; the fire caused an estimated $60,000 damage to the building. Fire officials say the origin of the blaze is under investigation.
The fourth fire started at 7:56 a.m., apparently by an electrical malfunction on the sixth floor of the Brinkley Towers apartments at 2602 Brinkley Rd. in Oxon Hill. One resident, whom fire officials identified as Donald Loeffler, 36, was injured. He was treated at Greater Southeast Community Hospital and released.
Firefighter Laverne Roach was treated for second-degree facial burns at Prince George's General Hospital and released.
Damage to at least five apartments was estimated at $110,000. Five families were displaced; all have been relocated to new apartments within the same building.