- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Prince George’s County woman died yesterday morning as a result of an early morning fire that began in the kitchen of her town house unit in Upper Marlboro.

Gloria Jean Geddie, 48, was found in a second-story bedroom in the 14300 block of Colonel Clagett Court, said Chauncey Bowers, battalion chief of Prince George’s County fire department.

Despite rescue efforts by a firefighter, her husband and an 85-year-old housemate, Mrs. Geddie died on the way to the hospital.

Investigators said the fire was caused by a malfunctioning kitchen appliance, Chief Bowers said.

“Flames were shooting from the rear of the town house,” Chief Bowers said.

A county firefighter was injured as he tried to carry Mrs. Geddie down a ladder from the second-story bedroom. The firefighter was taken to a hospital for treatment. Damage was estimated at $150,000.

The blaze began at about 8 a.m. Firefighters responded to calls placed by Mrs. Geddie’s husband, David, and Clemson Johnson, 85, who lived with the Geddies in Unit 328.

Mr. Geddie reportedly had begun breakfast in the kitchen, but left to go to a grocery store. When he returned home, he saw smoke coming out of the unit, and Mr. Johnson trying to go upstairs to the bedrooms.

Although it was a one-alarm fire, Chief Bowers said extra firefighters and rescue workers were called to the scene to relieve anyone who might be overcome by increasing weather temperatures and humidity.

The fire was contained to the single unit, but smoke and water led officials to evacuate neighboring units. Neighbors said yesterday that everyone worked very hard to get Mrs. Geddie out of the burning unit.

“David tried to go back in, but the heat and the smoke were too much,” said Kia L. Jackson, who lives next door in unit 326. “By then, flames were just shooting out.”

Ms. Jackson also said she saw the firefighter fall as he tried to carry an unconscious Mrs. Geddie down the ladder.

“The firemen worked very hard,” said Ms. Jackson, whose unit was damaged by the fire.

Ms. Jackson spent yesterday afternoon collecting clothing and other things from her soot-laden unit.

She said she will stay with family in Fort Washington until her unit is repaired.

“I’m a teacher,” she said. “I have to go to school” Monday.

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