Girl, 12, saves siblings from fire

She smells smoke, moves kids to room until rescue in Montgomery

February 04, 2007|By Phillip McGowan | Phillip McGowan,[sun reporter]

Prompt action by a 12-year-old girl yesterday might have saved her life and the lives of her four younger siblings, including a pair of 13-month-old twins, when she detected smoke in her Kensington house, called 911 and corralled the children into an upper-floor bedroom until firefighters arrived.

All five were transported to area hospitals for smoke inhalation but are expected to survive, said Pete Piringer, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service public information officer. He declined to release the name of the family.

The 12-year-old smelled smoke about 1 p.m., just a few minutes after the children's mother left for a store, Piringer said. While she looked for the source of the smoke, the smoke detector went off in the two-story Colonial in the 9800 block of Connecticut Ave.

After calling her mother, the 12-year-old tried to get her siblings out of the house but was unable to do so because of the smoke and fire. She then took the twins, as well as a 3-year-old and 7-year-old, to a bedroom on the second floor, closed the door and called 911, Piringer said.

The spokesman said the 12-year-old, at the direction of the 911 emergency operator, placed a crib cover at the base of the door and got everyone to lie on the floor.

The mother, 25, raced home but was unable to rescue her children, Piringer said. The mother was also hospitalized for smoke exposure.

Firefighters arrived on her heels and entered the house, discovering all five children, two of them unconscious, Piringer said.

Two children were passed out from windows and taken down by ladder. The others were taken out through the house when the fire was contained.

As of last night, investigators had not determined what started the fire, which caused an estimated $450,000 in damage. More than 60 firefighters responded to the scene, Piringer said.

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