Mother, two children killed in fire at Montgomery County townhouse

January 06, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A Montgomery County woman and her two children died early yesterday, and her husband was critically injured in a fire that swept through a townhouse in Gaithersburg, fire officials said.

Alba Herrera, 34, and her children, Caleb, 5, and Dairicha, 23 months, died at area hospitals, apparently from smoke inhalation. Israel Herrera, 31, was in critical condition with burns and severe respiratory damage last night at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

Officials said the fire started about 6:30 a.m. yesterday at 7211 Millcrest Terrace, off Muncaster Mill Road.

The Herreras shared the townhouse with another family of five, who escaped the heavy smoke by exiting through an upper-floor window onto a deck as firefighters arrived, officials said. Those three adults and two children were taken to Suburban Hospital, where they were treated.

The Herreras were trapped on the lower level until they were pulled from the townhouse by firefighters, officials said.

The blaze was extinguished in about 10 minutes. Fire officials said the preliminary investigation shows that the fire apparently started in the basement of the house and caused an estimated $125,000 damage.

The house had one smoke alarm, on the second floor, but it was not working, a Fire Department spokesman said.

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