A Bowie woman is dead after a fire consumed her home and hoarding conditions made it difficult for rescuers to search the house and put out the flames.
Firefighters were called to a two-story home in the 12000 block on Lofting Court in Bowie at about 7 p.m. Sunday for the report of a fire, according to officials from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department. When rescuers arrived, flames were shooting out of the home’s garage and climbing up the second story of the house, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the department.
Firefighters went into the burning home, but they encountered hoarding conditions, officials said.
The conditions made it “totally unsafe for us to try to put out the fire or search the home,” Brady said.
The fire became so intense that firefighters had to be evacuated from the home, the fire department said. Authorities had to call additional units to help extinguish the fire and clear the scene.
“Firefighters searched the house as best as they could twice without finding the occupant that was unaccounted for,” the department said in a statement.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about an hour and 15 minutes before putting it out. Afterward, investigators entered the home and found a woman’s body.
Brady said investigators are waiting for the medical examiner to complete an autopsy before the woman, who is in her 60s, can be identified.
“Neighbors didn’t really know her, and we tried to find her relatives, but we haven’t been able to reach her family,” Brady said.
The blaze caused about $200,000 worth of damage, Brady said. The cause of the fire also remains under investigation.
One firefighter cut his hand at the scene and was treated and at a hospital before being released, officials said.
While the conditions in the home made it difficult for firefighters to go inside and rescue the woman trapped in the flames, it’s unclear whether those conditions impeded the woman’s exit.
“Unfortunately, the only person who can tell us is gone,” Brady said. “We’ll never hear exactly what happened.”