A fire that tore through a Lanham, Maryland, home early Friday morning took the lives of a retired couple who had lived there for decades.
Hours later, a large number of family members and friends were still gathered in front of the home, many of them beside themselves and overcome with emotion.
“We just recently retired in the last two years,” said Andre Tyree, of Bowie. “Something you look forward to your all your life is to retire and get to this point and stage in life. For something like this to happen, I’m just so shocked for words.”
The names of the victims have not been released by authorities, but Tyree said he and his wife have been close friends with the couple for several decades. He said they were all supposed to leave together for a cruise to the Bahamas on Sunday morning.
“I talked to him last night about 10, asking if he was packed,” said Tyree. “He said he had a few more things to do. Then, I get a devastating phone call this morning about 7. I just wasn’t sure whether or not it was them or not. I didn’t want to believe it was them, until I got here and seen the condition of the house. It was devastating to see them bring the bodies out.”
Investigators from Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department have not determined the cause or circumstances of the fire yet.
The brick frame still stands facing the front yard, but the roof is gone and it was clear from outside that the rest of the home was charred-out rubble. It took firefighters several hours to put the flames out.
“We talked all the time,” said Tyree. “You don’t imagine things like this happening to someone who is close to you, you see them every day. You read about it. You see it on TV. But when it strikes home it’s different.”