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Posted at 10:09 AM ET, 01/21/2011

911 tapes released in fatal fire

By Matt Zapotosky
Matt Zapotosky

The parents of a 9-year-old girl killed in a house fire in Hyattsville Wednesday tried frantically to get back into the home and save their daughter, according to a 911 call released by the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department Friday.

The girl's parents can be heard wailing in the background of the call as the 911 caller tries to ask the father who is inside and where they are located. The caller has little luck getting a response.

"He's not listening to me, and his wife is trying to get back inside," the caller says.

Firefighters arrived within minutes of the woman's call, but they encountered a chaotic scene. Power lines were down to the right of the house, and two children were possibly trapped inside, according to the 911 caller.

The fire eventually killed 9-year-old Kimberly Hernandez and injured three of her sisters. Fire officials have said they believe the cause to be "accidental," but they have declined to provide other details.

The family's neighborhood is accepting donations to help the survivors and those injured.

To donate, checks should be made out to the "Hyattsville CDC."

They can be mailed to:
Treasurer
Hyattsville Community Development Corporation
5004 42nd Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20781

By Matt Zapotosky  | January 21, 2011; 10:09 AM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety, Matt Zapotosky, Pr. George's  
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Comments

So where are all the commenters from earlier this week??? The ones who were speculating that the parents probably didn't speak English, and that there must have been "something fishy" going on because one girl was in a bedroom and one was in the kitchen? Where are your sarcastic, assumptive, insensitive comments now? Huh? A 9 year old girl died and you can clearly hear how upset the parents were. It's a tragedy. And rather than feel sorry for the family, you make assumptions and immediately start placing blame, questioning citizenship, and finger wagging. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: Kelso4 | January 21, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Clicked on the link to hear the 911 call. Embedded in the first paragraph is reference to the call but the link is not it.

Could someone refer me to the 911 call ?

Posted by: SilverSpringSteve | January 21, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Clicked on the link to hear the 911 call. Embedded in the first paragraph is reference to the call but the link is not it.

Could someone refer me to the 911 call ?

Posted by: SilverSpringSteve | January 21, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, right Kelso4. All of those people owe the family an apology. Of course, I'm not going to hold my breath.

God, that phone call was just so hard to listen to - the mother's screams in the background brought tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine for a moment what that had to have been like - neighbors restraining her as she tried to get back in the house to save her children.

Posted by: vickistired | January 21, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, right Kelso4. All of those people owe the family an apology. Of course, I'm not going to hold my breath.

God, that phone call was just so hard to listen to - the mother's screams in the background brought tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine for a moment what that had to have been like - neighbors restraining her as she tried to get back in the house to save her children.

Posted by: vickistired | January 21, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Matt Zapotosky,
I find it pretty irreponsible and exploitative to play these tapes to the public. Why do we need to hear wailing parents who just lost their kid in a fire? I know part of your job is to make stories heart-wrenching , but it's pretty sick.

by the way ,no one wants to see your mug next to every article you post.

Posted by: plive202 | January 21, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

plive, in fairness to Matt, any reporter across the country would post the tape. Don't blame him, blame the editor. Or don't listen, I guess.

Posted by: Kelso4 | January 21, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@ plive202,

What I find sick and irresponsible are the heartless and cruel remarks that some have made regarding this poor family. The Washington Post providing access to the recording should at least allay some of the nasty remarks, and nonsense about the family.

Posted by: jennjen | January 21, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: TaxiDriver | January 21, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

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