COLLEGE PARK, Md. (MyFoxDC.com) - Ten residents of the Spellman House Apartments in College Park have to stay elsewhere after a fire in their building. It could have been much worse.
The building's fire alarm system didn't make a sound to warn residents. Some had no idea there was a fire in the building.Thanks to some Prince George's County Police Officers in the neighborhood when the fire broke out everyone made it out safely.
A neighbor flagged down the cops, and they rushed into the seven story building and started evacuating people until the fire department arrived.
Cpl Matthew Ling says they had to kick in the door of the sixth floor unit where the fire started to make sure no one was inside.
" After we determined there was no one at home, we immediately began to knock on doors to evacuate the surrounding rooms in case the fire grew," Ling says.
Many of the elderly residents are wheelchair bound or disabled in other ways.
"I didn't hear any audible alarm, but saw some flashing lights," PFC. Daniel Gonzalez says. " Someone should be accountable for that, especially in this building with disabled residents with trouble hearing and seeing. It should be working."
Prince George's County Fire and Ems Spokesman Mark Brady confirmed that the building, didn't have a fully functioning fire alarm. Only the blinking lights function was working, not the sound portion.
"The audible alarm wasn't working. Residents told us about it when we arrived. After the fire was out, we worked with management to make sure it was fixed immediately,"Brady says.
At least the building's sprinkler system was working. Prince George's County requires both sprinklers and fire alarms in all buildings constructed after 1992. It was the first county in the country to pass a law like that.
"It saves lives and property," Brady says.
In College Park Saturday, Officers Ling, Gonzalez, and Officer Jonathan Eyler did too.
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