112 residents evacuated from Bowie senior living facility after fire, explosion

The explosion could be heard for miles around Bowie. (WTOP/John Domen)
The explosion could be heard for miles around Bowie.

A portion of the building collapsed during the explosion. (WTOP/John Domen)
A portion of the building collapsed during the explosion.

No one was injured in the fire or explosion. (WTOP/John Domen)
No one was injured in the fire or explosion. (WTOP/John Domen)

Residents of a senior living facility were bused to the Bowie Senior Center after a fire on June 14, 2022. (WTOP/John Domen)
Residents of a senior living facility were bused to the Bowie Senior Center after a fire on June 14, 2022.

Firefighters are seen at the Bowie Senior Center where the residents of senior living facility were taken after the fire.

fire in bowie
A fire forced the evacuation of 112 residents at the Larkin Chase Center in Bowie on June 14, 2022.

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The explosion could be heard for miles around Bowie. (WTOP/John Domen)
A portion of the building collapsed during the explosion. (WTOP/John Domen)
No one was injured in the fire or explosion. (WTOP/John Domen)
Residents of a senior living facility were bused to the Bowie Senior Center after a fire on June 14, 2022. (WTOP/John Domen)
fire in bowie

An explosion and fire at a senior living facility in Bowie, Maryland, early Tuesday morning, led to the evacuation of more than 100 residents, some of them bedridden and immobile. Luckily, officials say, no one was hurt.

The fire at the Larkin Chase Senior Nursing Home erupted around 3:40 a.m., inside the senior living facility’s kitchen, Prince George’s Deputy Fire Chief Tony Hughes said.

The explosion, which could be heard miles away, caused the kitchen area’s back wall to blow out, he said, and dumpsters near the building ended up 20 to 30 feet away from their original spots. A roof also partially collapsed.

Hughes said the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS evacuated 112 residents.

Hughes said evacuating the building was a challenge since some of the residents are bedridden and cannot walk.

“So they’re in wheelchairs, which … does complicate the removal efforts, and even the transport efforts because not all of our ambulances are capable of sitting a citizen in a wheelchair in that unit.”

Hughes said the fire departments from Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties and D.C. also provided assistance.

The evacuated residents were initially taken to the Bowie Senior Center at 14900 Health Center Drive, where a family reunification for loved ones has been established.

Most residents were temporarily relocated to the Bowie Gymnasium, and by around 4 p.m. all residents were safely relocated to other nursing facilities.

The damage to the back of the Larkin facility is so severe that residents might not be able to move back in for weeks, the deputy fire chief said.

City officials say the nursing home and Maryland officials will coordinate transporting patients to other long-term facilities in the state.



Nearby Bowie resident Cynthia Williams told WTOP she was lying in bed when she heard the explosion, which she thought was a plane crash at first.

“And the impact was so violent and strong that it shook my bedroom,” said Williams

In the aftermath of the explosion and fire, Lisa Jackson initially had a hard time locating her father, who has stage four cancer and was one of several high-priority patients who left the facility, she said. Later in the morning, Jackson said she received news that her father was in the Bowie Gymnasium where he’s being cared for.

“He was just transported over to the gymnasium. They’re gonna hold him. There’s a bunch of dietitians there, there’s physicians, there’s nurses. He’s well taken care of. He’s probably eating right now,” Jackson said.

Jackson said if the senior living facility remains closed for weeks, that’ll mean he could end up miles away from family.

Former Maryland Del. Gerron Levi, whose mother lives at the Larkin facility, said she rushed over after learning of the fire. Upon arriving, Levi learned that her mother had been evacuated to the Bowie Gymnasium.

“They have plenty of provisions and all of that, and they are trying to figure out where they will be next,” Levi said.

Video from WTOP’s news partner, NBC Washington, shows part of the building collapsed and describes what happened as an explosion.

Fire marshals and investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Anyone who needs to find out information on those residents can call the reunification center at 301-809-2300.

Family members can also contact Larkin Chase Center directly at 301-805-6070.

WTOP’s John Domen reported from Bowie. WTOP’s Colleen Kelleher contributed to this story.

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