WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Mark Russ was at his childhood home Tuesday, pulling keepsakes and photos from the house where a fire started early in the morning, trapping his mother and sister on the second floor.
Lina Elizabeth Russ and Dorlin Michlle Russ died after DC Fire and EMS rescued them from the burning home.
“Survived the fire,” Russ said, referring to a piece of his mom’s artwork, “so, it’s going to survive in our family.”
Crews responded to the fire in the 7200 block of 8th St. NW around 3:10 a.m. When they arrived, they found smoke coming from the second floor of the building. The second floor is where crews found Lina and her daughter.
“When you have fires, there’s smoke, and sometimes people don’t survive the smoke, and that was the case this morning,” said Russ.
His mother, who turned 87 in August, was a teacher whose time in education found her at Alice Deal Middle School and Takoma Elementary School. Dorlin was his older sister who worked as a teacher’s aide.
D.C. Fire Marshal Mitchell Kannry said the home had smoke detectors. As of midday Tuesday, firefighters were trying to determine if they were working at the time of the fire.
People with DC Fire and EMS canvassed the neighborhood to check to see if other homes had working smoke detectors.
Fire Marshal Mitchell Kannry said almost every time they canvass an area, they have to install smoke detectors in homes. They installed at least two during their rounds Tuesday.
“Just like you check up on your health, you have to check up on the health of your residence,” Russ said.
Anyone in the District who needs a smoke detector or would like to have someone from DC Fire and EMS check their homes can call 311. The service by the department is provided for free.