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‘Excessive material’ packed in a College Park home fueled early morning fatal fire

An 82-year-old man is dead and an elderly woman was sent to the hospital after a Sunday morning blaze tore through a College Park home.

Firefighters spent about 90 minutes putting out a fire at a two-story home in the 5200 block of Palco Place. The fire started around 5 a.m., and crews had trouble putting out the fire because the home was “filled with excessive material,” said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the county fire department.

Brady said materials packed in the house made it difficult for crews to navigate the scene and supplied extra fuel for the fire.

A woman in her 80s living in the home was able to escape. She was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and was in serious but stable condition Sunday, Brady said. Crews spent the morning searching for an elderly man in the home, believed to be house’s owner. Firefighters found him on the second floor of the house and are not expected to release his identity until an autopsy is complete.

Brady said the fire started in the upper level of the house, but investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

Prince George’s Fire Chief Marc Bashoor tweeted photos from the scene, which showed flames and smoke billowing out of the yellow home’s rooftop.

“If you know someone in your neighborhood with ‘pack-rat’ tendencies, do what you can to help, or get them help,” Bashoor tweeted with one photo showing firefighters at the scene.

Lynh Bui is a Prince George's County public safety reporter and former Montgomery County education reporter.

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