At least seven persons were injured and more than 35 persons were displaced from their homes in three separate fires that broke out in the Washington area on a warm, moist Chirstmas Eve.
Total damage in the blazes, two in Prince George's County and one in the District of Columbia was estimated at more than $250,000.
The heaviest damage -- $180,000 -- was caused by a 5:30 p.m. fire at the Cherry Hill Apartments in Landover Hills, where 22 families were driven from their apartments in a blaze caused by a short circuit in a television set.
The two alarm fire damaged three adjoining four-level brick veneer buildings at 3989, 3991 and 3993 Warner Ave. Authorities said the displaced families would be housed in vacant units elsewhere in the development.
Earlier in the day, four families were displaced by a fire that caused $75,000 damage to garden apartments at 11936 Beltsville Dr., Calverton, Md. Authorities said the blaze was caused by a child playing with matches.
According to initial reports, nine persons were displaced by the third of the fires, which broke out last night at 19 R St. NE.
Officials said the Red Cross would help find temporary shelter for all nine.
No information was immediately available on the cause of the R Street fire, or on the amount of damage it caused.
One firefighter was taken to the Washington Hospital Center from the scene of the blaze and released after treatment. Two other persons were taken to Howard University Hospital. Their injuries were not believed serious.
One female firefighter and two male firefighters were injured during the blaze at the Cherry Hill Apartments. A 67-year-old woman resident of the apartments was also injured.
The firefighters were identified as Edith Patton, 21, of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Charles Tobin, 31, of the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department and Jon Smith, 38, of the Tuxedo Cheverly Fire Department. The woman resident was not immediately identified.
Authorities said that Patton suffered smoke inhalation, and Tobin injured his jaw and suffered dizzy spells after falling through a floor. Smith received treatment for a lacerated chin.