Several rescued, 16 displaced after 2-alarm fire in Laurel

A three-story apartment building in Laurel, Maryland, erupted into flames early Friday morning, putting residents into what some describe as a chaotic and life-threatening situation and displacing 16 people.

Fire departments from Prince George’s, Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties all responded just before 3 a.m. to a far back building of a complex on Scott Adam Court. Residents said they heard an explosion of some kind just before 3 a.m. Firefighters said flames were visible on all three floors when they arrived.

A total of seven people had to be rescued from the building. First responders arrived to find four people trapped on their balconies, requiring immediate rescue. Three other people still inside the building also needed help escaping.

Four were transported to hospitals, and one of the patients had serious, life-threatening injuries, according to Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesman Mike Yourishin. Two other people had injuries that were not life-threatening, and another person was taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

It was a situation that could have been much worse.

“Smoke got in my lungs. I almost collapsed,” said Marcus Yates, who said he lived on the third floor of the building. “I barely made it to the front door.”

After getting out, he said all he saw were flames, smoke and what he described as people “almost falling out their buildings.”

“It was almost like the quickest life or death situation I’ve seen … Seeing my partner look down at me with his daughters, I was like, ‘Man, he could lose his life right now.’ But they handled it,” Yates said.

One of his roommates, who didn’t want to be named, said he saw the flames from his bedroom and yelled at everyone to get out.

“He made it through the front door,” the man said, referring to Yates, “and the rest of us couldn’t make it out so we just climbed down.”

Firefighters continue to investigate what started the fire. The Red Cross is on scene to assist those who need help.

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