ST. MARY’S COUNTY, MD (June 29, 2023) – Naval District Washington Firefighter Brice Trossbach tragically lost his life in a house fire at 20521 Deer Wood Park Drive in Leonardtown. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, with multiple agencies working together to piece together the evidence.

The fire, which broke out early Tuesday morning, prompted a response from Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and other surrounding departments. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered a fully engulfed two-story, 2,500-square-foot home. While conducting an interior attack, the first floor collapsed into the basement, trapping Trossbach. Despite the rescue efforts of his fellow firefighters, Trossbach succumbed to his injuries.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal, supported by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and personnel from Prince Georges and Anne Arundel counties, are leading the investigation. The teams have completed the on-site examination but continue to examine the cause of the fire.

A coordinated effort involving Deputy State Fire Marshals, K9 teams, Certified Fire Investigators, electrical engineers from the ATF, and investigators from neighboring counties has been underway. The teams utilized heavy machinery to remove layers of debris from the home’s interior, meticulously excavating the scene. Additionally, nearly 100 interviews were conducted to gather vital information.

The investigation relies on a combination of critical pieces of information, including weather data, video footage, forensic examination of wiring and piping, and trace evidence collected from the scene. While initial reports indicate a loud sound consistent with a lightning strike, investigators consider all possible causes before reaching a final conclusion.

Tragically, the fire also resulted in injuries to two other firefighters. A Leonardtown firefighter sustained burns to his ears and knees and was transported to the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Another Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department firefighter suffered an ankle injury and was taken to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital. Both have since been treated and released.

State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci expressed his profound grief over the loss of Firefighter Brice Trossbach, emphasizing the devastating impact on St. Mary’s County, the State of Maryland, and the nation as a whole. Geraci, along with Colonel Butler and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, assured the public that every available resource would be dedicated to determining the cause of the tragedy.

As investigators continue their work, the community mourns the loss of a dedicated firefighter and extends their sympathies to Trossbach’s family, friends, and colleagues. The investigation’s results will provide critical answers about the cause of the fire, shedding light on the tragic events that unfolded on that fateful morning.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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