Cause Determined in Waldorf Double Fatal Fire

WALDORF, Md.—The Office of the State Fire has determined the origin and cause of a double fatal fire that claimed the life of two Waldorf family members. Investigators determined the fire originated within a hallway which separated the victims’ bedrooms and concluded the cause was an electrical failure due to an overloaded extension cord.

The investigation revealed Zavion Atkins, age 6, and his great-grandmother, Bernice Washington, age 68, were asleep in separate bedrooms when the fire occurred. Four other family members were able to escape after being alerted to the sound of a smoke alarm.

The 12:34 a.m. fire at 15101 Poplar Hill Road was brought under control by numerous Charles County and Prince Georges County fire departments. The single-story modular home was heavily damaged during the blaze.

Charles County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the initial investigation, which is standard operating procedure in fatal related fires. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed the victims succumbed to smoke inhalation and thermal burn injuries.

Source: Office of Maryland State Fire Marshal

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