Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:46 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Girl, 9, dead after overnight Md. fire

By Ruben Castaneda, Debbi Wilgoren and Allison Klein

A 9-year-old girl died and three of her sisters were injured, one critically, in an overnight house fire in Hyattsville, authorities said.

Kimberly Hernandez and her sister, 13, had to be pulled from the burning house; Kimberly Hernandez died Wednesday, according to Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor. The teenager was at a hospital in critical condition, Prince George's fire department spokesman Mark Brady said Wednesday.

Two other girls, the 13-year-old's twin and a 4-year-old, suffered less serious injuries, authorities said.


After the fire. (Pr. George's Fire Dept.)

The two seriously injured girls "were not conscious, not breathing. We were performing CPR when they were taken away," Prince George's County fire chief Marc Bashoor said.

All four of the girls are sisters. Two got out of the burning house with their parents before firefighters arrived. The adults told firefighters that the other two girls were still inside. One was found in an upstairs bedroom; the other was in the dining room.

The house, in the 4700 block of 40th Avenue, is a Sears Roebuck-style wood frame structure, fire officials said. Firefighters were called there at 3:50 a.m.

Bashoor said the adult residents of the home speak mostly Spanish; firefighters summoned an interpreter to help communicate with them.

The fire appears to have been accidental, fire officials said Wednesday.

Fire officials had previously said the twins were both gravely injured, but updated the information later Wednesday morning.

This item has been updated since it was first published.

By Ruben Castaneda, Debbi Wilgoren and Allison Klein  | January 19, 2011; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Maryland  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: WTOP, other Bonneville stations sold
Next: Toxin use at Fort Detrick to be reviewed

Comments

Something is really fishy here. Why were the girls not in a room at 3:00 in the morning? If one was in the dining room, why didn't one of the adults(again no word if the adults were the girls' parents-mom's boyfriend, dad's girlfriend, step parent what have you)I'm willing to bet there was some sort of abuse going on and the parents set fire and left the two older girls in the house to cover it up. The girls probably said they were going to tell someone about something. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more in this whole area. I hope the the Post continues the COMPLETE coverage of this story.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Something is really fishy here. Why were the girls not in a room at 3:00 in the morning? If one was in the dining room, why didn't one of the adults(again no word if the adults were the girls' parents-mom's boyfriend, dad's girlfriend, step parent what have you)I'm willing to bet there was some sort of abuse going on and the parents set fire and left the two older girls in the house to cover it up. The girls probably said they were going to tell someone about something. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more in this whole area. I hope the the Post continues the COMPLETE coverage of this story.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 9:34 AM
----------------------------
You can't be serious with this comment? Did you think that one of the twins were trying to run out the house and fell in the living room?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | January 19, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree something does not sound right; one in the dining room and the second in the upstairs bedroom. Someone was doing something they should not have been doing and hope it was covering up any abuse...cooking or playing with matches...I hope they pull thru and PG investigate this further...

Posted by: shadon1 | January 19, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree something does not sound right; one in the dining room and the second in the upstairs bedroom. Someone was doing something they should not have been doing and hope it was covering up any abuse...cooking or playing with matches...I hope they pull thru and PG investigate this further...

Posted by: shadon1 | January 19, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Something is really fishy here. Why were the girls not in a room at 3:00 in the morning? If one was in the dining room, why didn't one of the adults(again no word if the adults were the girls' parents-mom's boyfriend, dad's girlfriend, step parent what have you)I'm willing to bet there was some sort of abuse going on and the parents set fire and left the two older girls in the house to cover it up. The girls probably said they were going to tell someone about something. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more in this whole area. I hope the the Post continues the COMPLETE coverage of this story.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 9:34 AM
----------------------------
You can't be serious with this comment? Did you think that one of the twins were trying to run out the house and fell in the living room?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | January 19, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

PublicEnemy1: Yes, I'm completely serious. So, your telling me that more than one adult(the story says adults) removed the two younger girls from the house, but LEFT one 13 yr old in the bedroom, and the other in some other part of the house, and no one went into the house to get the other two? Seriously? BYSTANDERS, if they had known, would have gone in after those girls. The "adults" LEFT them in there. Tell me that as a parent or aunt or uncle you would WAIT for the fire dept. if there was one chance your child, ANY child could die. This was at most a 2 story house with the cause of fire under investigation STILL. My house in Silver Spring caught fire, my neighbors went in to MAKE sure no one was in there-lord, I hope yours would as well.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Isn't there a "crime solver" blog where some of you armchair detectives could share your theories?

Posted by: Rachelva | January 19, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

This DOES NOT sound fishy at all. Have any of you ever been in a house fire? I was in a house fire in 1994. I was 9 years old and my twin sister and my 5 year old brother was trapped in the house. The fire started at 4am due to old electrical wiring in the house. When there is a fire it can spread very quickly. Smoke is so thick and dark that you can not see in front of you. I am 26 now but was 9 years old when my twin sister and 5 year old brother had to be rescued. Stop jumping to conclusions. When there is a fire you panic and when you are a child you attempt to look for your parents help. My house fire had all 5 of my siblings and my grandmother who was 74 and my uncle. I sympathize with this family because I was in their shoes 2/2/94. Keep your comments to yourself if its not posititive and keep the girls in your prayers.

Posted by: bebe6620 | January 19, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

This DOES NOT sound fishy at all. Have any of you ever been in a house fire? I was in a house fire in 1994. I was 9 years old and my twin sister and my 5 year old brother was trapped in the house. The fire started at 4am due to old electrical wiring in the house. When there is a fire it can spread very quickly. Smoke is so thick and dark that you can not see in front of you. I am 26 now but was 9 years old when my twin sister and 5 year old brother had to be rescued. Stop jumping to conclusions. When there is a fire you panic and when you are a child you attempt to look for your parents help. My house fire had all 5 of my siblings and my grandmother who was 74 and my uncle. I sympathize with this family because I was in their shoes 2/2/94. Keep your comments to yourself if its not posititive and keep the girls in your prayers.

Posted by: bebe6620 | January 19, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I would hope to die before I left any child in a burning house fire. I have to ask why the parents left the twins to die unless they thought everyone was out of the house. This is a very strange fire. How did the fire start? Where did it start?
I pray to God that the twins survive and are able to answer some of the lingering questions. Our prayers are for the family at this time.

Posted by: rdhall96 | January 19, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This DOES NOT sound fishy at all. Have any of you ever been in a house fire? I was in a house fire in 1994. I was 9 years old and my twin sister and my 5 year old brother was trapped in the house. The fire started at 4am due to old electrical wiring in the house. When there is a fire it can spread very quickly. Smoke is so thick and dark that you can not see in front of you. I am 26 now but was 9 years old when my twin sister and 5 year old brother had to be rescued. Stop jumping to conclusions. When there is a fire you panic and when you are a child you attempt to look for your parents help. My house fire had all 5 of my siblings and my grandmother who was 74 and my uncle. I sympathize with this family because I was in their shoes 2/2/94. Keep your comments to yourself if its not posititive and keep the girls in your prayers.

Posted by: bebe6620 | January 19, 2011 10:28 AM
-------------------------
Thank you, bebe6620. I can't believe people would think that something was "fishy" because the 2 girls were left while the other 2 kids got out of the house alive. Did anyone start to think that the father was going back in and the fire and smoke was to much for him to enter? Or he might have thought that the young gilrs got out since they were older than the other kids. Keep the CSI comments to yourself.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | January 19, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Bashoor said the adult residents of the home speak mostly Spanish; firefighters summoned an interpreter to help communicate with them."


Nothing fishy at all - just a lack of communication that left two young girls fighting for their lives when they may have been rescued several minutes earlier if just one of the adults learned enough English to effectively communicate with the fire fighters.

In a situation like this, every minute counts - the difference between life and death.

Bet they don't have insurance either!


Posted by: asmith1 | January 19, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"if just one of the adults learned enough English to effectively communicate with the fire fighters."

You are kidding right? The fire dept should have had Spanish speaking firefighters on the truck. We can't expect immigrants to learn English.

I'm sure Casa de Md will probably pursue this one in court, and Md being Md, they will probably win.

All of that aside, I hope the young ladies are able to make a full recovery. I have never faced it, but I can't think of many things more terrifying than being trapped in afire.

Posted by: BEEPEE | January 19, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Please stop judging people and start helping them. Please.

When it comes down to it, we're all in the dark and starving for oxygen.

Posted by: edgydc | January 19, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Please stop judging people and start helping them. Please.

When it comes down to it, we're all in the dark and starving for oxygen.

Posted by: edgydc | January 19, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

On the local TV news, the fire department spokesman reported that the adults "preferred to stay on the scene" rather than go to the hospital with the four children. That is weird.

Posted by: mbm2 | January 19, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Did the house have working smoke detectors? Key part of the story is missing.

Posted by: Marimom | January 19, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Channel 4 News Update: Investigators said the family did have a hard-wired smoke detector in the house, but they do not know if it was working.

They also said the parents of the girls were taken to the hospital, treated for smoke inhalation and released.

Posted by: asmith1 | January 19, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Nope. No way. This kid died for no reason. They'd better investigate this fully. 2 adults saved their own hides before their kids? They were treated for smoke inhalation and released? They did not go with any of the kids to the hospitals? Not buying it-one of those adults is shady here. They managed to have 4 kids here and they couldn't communicate that they were trapped in the house? They were hiding something. If they weren't they would have been trying to get back in there to get their daughters, not standing outside WAITING for the fire dept. Come on please, we've seen pictures of the house, it's more of a bungalow. It's not a row house with 4 possible levels and deeper than it is wide. i hope they don't release those kids to the "adults" custody.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"if just one of the adults learned enough English to effectively communicate with the fire fighters."

You are kidding right? The fire dept should have had Spanish speaking firefighters on the truck. We can't expect immigrants to learn English.

I'm sure Casa de Md will probably pursue this one in court, and Md being Md, they will probably win.

All of that aside, I hope the young ladies are able to make a full recovery. I have never faced it, but I can't think of many things more terrifying than being trapped in afire.

Posted by: BEEPEE | January 19, 2011 12:09 PM

_______________________________

it's everyone's responsibility to learn Engligh in the US. do you really expect a translator to ride on EVERY emergency firetruck call??!! that's ridiculous. i'm of hispanic decent, my parents worked hard and took classes as soon as they arrived in this country to learn the language. no excuses, really, no excuses.

Posted by: 1SmartCookie | January 19, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!! that is all I can really say. Or Maybe ARE YOU SERIOUS! You have a family that is completely devistated; and all you can think of is there parents either left them to die, or is covering up some abuse conspiracy?! REALLY! I have never been in a house fire, or major tragedy, but I would like to think that most humans can not possibly fathom how to react in such a frightful situation! As probably how this family reacted. My first thought was that the younger childrens rooms are closer to the parents, and they grabbed them first. the fire was probably out of hand, and getting the two older children was impossible. What was a 13 yr old doing downstairs? Its her house, who cares! But I can bet that it was one of the toughest choices these two adults had to make in their lives!

Posted by: mmawhite6725 | January 19, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

There are several absolutely valid reasons why you must learn to speak the language of whatever country you happen to be residing in. I would never endeavor to move to France, stay for several (at least 14, in this case) years, and not know enough French to be able to save the lives of my children by effectively communicating with emergency workers. This is not an "immigration" problem or a racial issue, it is just common sense. Why is it that every other cultural group managed to come here and at least attempt to learn the language so they can function? What makes hispanics special? Why is it heresy to verbalize what we all know is not fair? I am tired of having to "PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH" when I am trying to make a call to my bank. I am tired of going into a WalMart or whatever and having to play an annoying game of "charades" with a salesperson in order to find out where the bathroom aisle is. I am tired of having to pay for 8 or 9 Spanish-language cable TV channels when I DO NOT SPEAK SPANISH. And I am really tired of encountering women with 30 year old kids who were born right here in the USA, getting an interpreter if I'm in traffic court or the airport - slowing up my damn day. I am the Black child of immigrant parents who came here LEGALLY to enjoy the American dream. I know you can retain your cultural identity without being a social mute. THIS IS NOT MEXICO or SOUTH AMERICA. I hope they can live with the fact that their laziness, selfishness and ignorance may have contributed to their kids' not getting to assistance in a timely manner.

Posted by: NY2VAGIRL | January 19, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

There are several absolutely valid reasons why you must learn to speak the language of whatever country you happen to be residing in. I would never endeavor to move to France, stay for several (at least 14, in this case) years, and not know enough French to be able to save the lives of my children by effectively communicating with emergency workers. This is not an "immigration" problem or a racial issue, it is just common sense. Why is it that every other cultural group managed to come here and at least attempt to learn the language so they can function? What makes hispanics special? Why is it heresy to verbalize what we all know is not fair? I am tired of having to "PRESS 1 FOR ENGLISH" when I am trying to make a call to my bank. I am tired of going into a WalMart or whatever and having to play an annoying game of "charades" with a salesperson in order to find out where the bathroom aisle is. I am tired of having to pay for 8 or 9 Spanish-language cable TV channels when I DO NOT SPEAK SPANISH. And I am really tired of encountering women with 30 year old kids who were born right here in the USA, getting an interpreter if I'm in traffic court or the airport - slowing up my damn day. I am the Black child of immigrant parents who came here LEGALLY to enjoy the American dream. I know you can retain your cultural identity without being a social mute. THIS IS NOT MEXICO or SOUTH AMERICA. I hope they can live with the fact that their laziness, selfishness and ignorance may have contributed to their kids' not getting to assistance in a timely manner.

Posted by: NY2VAGIRL | January 19, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it is a good thing that the Post and other papers allow readers to "weigh in" on any story as soon as it is published but sometimes I wonder.

I have seen some of the most outlandish and occasionally hurtful and hateful comments posted by people who have nothing on which to base their pronouncements, other than the article, which is often sketchy and their own reading of it which is sometimes careless.
Unfortunately some people are anxious to read their own biases and opinions into every story, however tortuous the connection, even it requires banging the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

I would not be surprised to see someone blame this tragedy on Obama or Sarah Palin

Posted by: OlSloaner | January 19, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was the 13 year old twins that were left inside the house and were in grave condition? Now the 9 year old dies?

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | January 19, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

You people disgust me. Commenting on a situation when you don't even have all the facts. As neighbors of this family attested - the parents were trying to get back into the house and hysterical - but burning and popping electrical wires made it impossible. And they were able to communicate to the firefighters that there were children still in the house. One of the 13 year olds and the 9 year old were in the house; the other 13 year old and the 2 year old were the kids the parents pulled out. And do we really need to have a debate about Spanish versus English here? Can you imagine if the family was reading this right now? What if one of the surviving kids was reading this?

@stopthemadness - please, stop your madness. Your utter ignorance.

Posted by: vickistired | January 19, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

i know the girls,there my friends i know there parents and much more,this was TOTALLY and accident,its a sad to here that kimberly died,she was a very nice little girl,always so joyful :( and the twins one of my close friends melani and kelli,i pray to god that they will be okay,and for there lost we just have to have strength and hope

Posted by: jesseniaramos52 | January 19, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Some of these comments are insane. While I don't know the family involved well, I own a property on this street & was once a neighbor. The parents of these children were always pleasant and neighborly and appeared to care for their children. They are definitely attentive parents and took pride in their property. Most houses in this historic neighborhood are nearly 100 y.o. though they have gone thru many renovations. Late last year our family lost an elderly family member in a house fire yet some people were able to get out of the fire. Unless/until YOU have been in a particular situation, you really have no idea what really happens and even then, your situation will not be the same. Please remember these parents have lost one child and the others are not out of the woods yet. (And often times initial reports don't have all the FACTS.) Have compassion for your fellow man(even if they don't speak your language)!

Posted by: newsnut65 | January 19, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Candles ... again.

Again ... another unpaid utility bill.

Posted by: lilhornie | January 19, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Candles ... again.

Again ... another unpaid utility bill.

Posted by: lilhornie | January 19, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Candles ... again.

Again ... another unpaid utility bill.

Posted by: lilhornie | January 19, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Candles ... again.

Again ... another unpaid utility bill.

Posted by: lilhornie | January 19, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Something is really fishy here. Why were the girls not in a room at 3:00 in the morning? If one was in the dining room, why didn't one of the adults(again no word if the adults were the girls' parents-mom's boyfriend, dad's girlfriend, step parent what have you)I'm willing to bet there was some sort of abuse going on and the parents set fire and left the two older girls in the house to cover it up. The girls probably said they were going to tell someone about something. Unfortunately, this seems to be happening more and more in this whole area. I hope the the Post continues the COMPLETE coverage of this story.
Posted by: stopthemadness | January 19, 2011 9:34 AM |

___________________________________________

@stopthemadness:
I am totally flabbergasted by your remarks. To sum it up, you sound utterly insane! You have obviously never been in any sort of torment throughout your entire life. To sit here, less than 48 hours after a deadly fire has take place, and start pointing fingers is not only disgusting, but shows a sign of lunacy. Did it ever cross your mind that the child might have fell asleep in the living room? Did it ever cross your mind that the child might have been running for her life and fell in the living room? Or yet, did it ever cross your mind that a house fire is HOT?

Quick question: Just how much are you “willing to bet” that there was abuse going on and that this was a criminal act orchestrated by the parents? Because if you can draw that conclusion from reading a four paragraph article, you might want to switch your career and get in to the gambling business!!! Also, where are your facts of this happening “more and more in this whole area”? To me, you sound like a judgmental psychopath who not only should be banned from blogging on this site, but also banned of thinking…”FREE THINKING IS NOT ILLEGAL, BUT STUPIDITY SHOULD BE”

PS…learn how to finish a complete sentence before you hop on a blog rambling buffoonery comments!

Posted by: dmcclure05 | January 19, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

How sad. As a kid I saw a house on fire with kids I played with at the playground parrish, It was horrible. I have sent Mr Brady and other PG Government officials letters and emails with the same concerns. It's a matter of time. There's a house in our subdivision that is being used by Hispanics as a rooming house that is begging for a disaster. They come in and divide these homes into multiple rooms and rent them out creating over crowding and fire violations. Sad but true

Posted by: MFW123 | January 19, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Too bad that the only street leading to the cul de sac where this home was located, as a result of a few very selfish homeowners, was laden with speed humps that delayed the emergency responders. Wake up and ban speed humps on public roads - it could be a matter of your life or death next time.

Posted by: BlueDiamond1 | January 19, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

As for the comments about people learning English, those who make such comments should sign up with their local Literacy Council to tutor those who want to learn. Every group that provides free tutoring in English will tell you they have long waiting lists with not enough volunteers to help. I've been a tutor and found it very rewarding. You should try it also.

Posted by: MrBethesda | January 19, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company