By Brandon BieltzOctober 11, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Oct. 11, 2012) -- At 6:08 p.m. on Sept. 30, the Fort Meade Fire Department was dispatched to a fire just outside the fence line. By 6:12 p.m., eight of the post's firefighters were on the scene battling the blaze that resulted in the evacuation of residents living in 24 apartments.
No injuries were reported. Damage was contained to 12 apartments.
Four apartments were occupied by Fort Meade personnel. According to Army Community Service, the displaced residents have been relocated to other units in the apartment complex and have received assistance from the American Red Cross.
"It's sad and unfortunate," said Jimmy Dean, Fort Meade firefighter .
The Fort Meade Fire Department was the second arriving engine and the first truck at the two-alarm fire, which started at around 6:05 p.m., at the 2000 block of Military Place in Odenton's Seven Oaks Apartments.
Fort Meade Fire Capt. Josh Morgan said that when they arrived on the scene, there was heavy fire on the third floor.
"The fire started on a third floor balcony," he said. "As to the cause of the fire, nobody knows yet. It's under investigation."
Fort Meade responded to the fire as part of a mutual-aid agreement with the county. Although the fire department has three crews, only one is designated for the installation. The remaining two can be used off post.
"Any day, they can take two pieces of equipment from us," Morgan said.
More than 60 firefighters and 25 pieces of equipment responded to the fire, with crews from surrounding counties fighting the fire in the three-story apartment building. Morgan said he lost count of how many fire departments were dispatched to the site.
"It was busy," he said. "A lot of things were going on, and a lot of things were happening at the right pace. But the fire had a pretty good jump."
Although the building had a sprinkler system, flames spread through the attic space and burned off the top of the sprinklers. Fire and smoke emanated from the roof.
When Morgan's engine arrived at the scene, firefighters quickly deployed ladders to the third floor.
"Our [engine] crew made entry to the third floor via ladder and we ended up pulling the ceiling down to make access to the fire," Morgan said. "As we started putting water on top of it, command pulled us out because the fire had consumed the entire half of the building on the roof."
The fire truck crew also made entry into the building as Dean began setting up the master stream devices to shoot large quantities of water onto the fire from the exterior.
All eight Fort Meade firefighters remained at the scene until around 11 p.m.
"That's what we train for, and we go out and it's good to be able to do the job you're there for," Morgan said.