A 13-year-old girl died and five persons were injured early yesterday when a Fort Washington house caught fire, Prince George's County fire officials said. It was the second time in three days that a house fire in Fort Washington ended in death.
Thredra Palmer, one of four children who lived at the house at 501 Lourdes Dr., was found about 12:45 a.m. unconscious on the floor of an upstairs bedroom, said Anthony DeStefano, a fire department spokesman. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful, and she was declared dead on the scene, he said.
The girl's father, the Rev. Roosevelt Palmer, was found dangling from a second-floor window in the rear of the house when firefighters arrived, DeStefano said. The elder Palmer, a minister at the Rehoboth Baptist Church on Alabama Avenue in the District of Columbia, had tried to get back inside the house to rescue his daughter but was unsuccessful, DeStefano said.
A firefighter reached the elder Palmer with a ladder, DeStefano said, and found the man's legs covered with second- and third-degree burns. He was taken by helicopter to the burn unit of the Washington Hospital Center, where he was listed in critical condition yesterday.
On Wednesday night, Joan Crowder, 58, died, and her husband was injured when their Fort Washington house near the Potomac River caught fire, DeStefano said. Damage in that fire was estimated at $150,000.
The causes of both fires are still under investigation, he said, but neither appeared to be of suspicious origin.
The Palmer house did not have a smoke detector, which is required by both Maryland and county laws, DeStefano said. He could not say whether a smoke detector might have saved the girl's life, but he said, "I've seen more people killed in fires in houses and apartments where there aren't any."
Firefighters arrived at the house shortly after 12:30 a.m., DeStefano said, and found flames coming out of both upstairs and downstairs windows. It took firefighters 30 minutes to put out the fire, which caused $130,000 in damage.
Three other children who live at the house were treated for smoke inhalation and cuts at the Greater Southeast Community Hospital and released, DeStefano said. One firefighter was treated at Southern Maryland Hospital and released.