A Montgomery County woman and her two children died and her husband was critically injured in a fire that swept through a townhouse in Gaithersburg early yesterday, fire officials said.
Alba Herrera, 34, and her children, Caleb, 5, and Dairicha, 23 months, died at area hospitals. Israel Herrera, 31, was in critical condition with burns and severe respiratory damage last night at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Gaithersburg.
Officials said the fire started about 6:30 a.m. yesterday at 7211 Millcrest Terrace, in a townhouse development off Muncaster Mill Road.
Five of the nine occupants of the two-story townhouse escaped the heavy smoke as firefighters arrived, officials said. Those three adults and two children were taken to Suburban Hospital, where they were treated.
The other four 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 a smoke alarm on the second floor, but it was not working, a Fire Department spokesman said.