In the wake of a fire that claimed the lives of a woman and two of her sons, city officials are encouraging residents to buy smoke detectors, if they do not have any, or to keep the safety devices in good working order, if they do have them.
Capt. Patrick Flynn, fire department spokesman, said a working smoke detector "would have made a difference" in the fire that took the lives yesterday of Ramona Collins, 34, and her two sons, Malcolm King, 18 months, and Martineze King, 6 monthes.
A third son, Quincy Collins, 11, remains in critical condition today in the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. Quincy suffered severe smoke inhalation.
Three other residents of the six-unit building were injured in the fire.
Yesterday, housing inspectors found that Collins' residence, in a three-story brick apartment building in the 2300 block of Ocala Ave., was properly wired for a smoke detector, but there was none in the apartment, said Bill Toohey, of the city Department of Housing and Community Development. Inspectors didn't know who removed the device.
Toohey said that an inspection of the building a year ago showed that smoke detectors had been installed, including one in Collins' apartment.
For people who can't afford to purchase a smoke detector from a retail outlet, Flynn suggested going to any fire station and ordering one. The device would be available within a week, he said. The cost is $6.
Since 1982, the fire department has given away 25,000 smoke detectors to those who can't afford them and sold about 140,000, Flynn said.
Meanwhile, Quincy Collins was transferred yesterday to University from Sinai Hospital. " . . . We spent a couple of hours resuscitating him and then sent him to the University of Maryland" for special care, said Paul Umansky, a Sinai spokesman.
The fire that took Quincy's mother and two brothers broke out shortly before 3 a.m. yesterday.
The mother was found by firefighters in the living room and her children in a back bedroom in a crib, a bed and on the floor.
Both infants appeared to be in cardiac arrest and were rushed to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore, where they died a short time afterward, a fire official said.
"As far as our experts are concerned, the fire was due to careless smoking on the sofa," by Collins, said Flynn.