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‘Split-second decision’ saves 3 in Prince George’s Co. apartment fire

WASHINGTON — Cornered on a balcony by the flames of a burning building, three trapped residents in Landover Hills, Maryland, were met by rescuers whose ladders weren’t tall enough to reach them. But thanks to…

WASHINGTON — Cornered on a balcony by the flames of a burning building, three trapped residents in Landover Hills, Maryland, were met by rescuers whose ladders weren’t tall enough to reach them.

But thanks to a “split-second decision,” firefighters were able to save their lives.

Smoke was spewing from the stairwell of the building, a four-level apartment in the 4400 block of 68th Place, when first responders arrived at around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Prince George’s County Fire and Rescue says.

As firefighters worked to put out the blaze, they discovered three people on a top-floor balcony with no way to escape the fire, officials said.

There was also another problem: The ladder trucks tall enough to reach the trapped residents had not yet arrived.

In what a PGFD spokesman described as a “split-second decision,” volunteer firefighters hooked a 28-foot ladder from the ground to the third floor of the building and then connected a shorter ladder to the roof. Firefighters acted as connectors between the two ladders as the residents were brought down to safety, according to the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department.

The three were not injured, fire officials said.

In all, 12 adults and seven children were displaced. Fire officials said one child and three adults were taken to the hospital for check-ups.

The fire caused $25,000 in damage. It’s unknown what started the blaze.

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