Three Killed in Brooklyn Park Dwelling Fire Included Hero Neighbor, Wife, Son of African Missionary


House fire at Brooklyn Park killed three including neighbor who tried to save them.  WTOP photo by Nick Lannelli

House fire at Brooklyn Park killed three including neighbor who tried to save them. WTOP photo by Nick Lannelli

Three Killed in Brooklyn Park Dwelling Fire

UPDATE: Two who died had re-entered the fire along with a neighbor

(Millersville, MD)  The three occupants killed in an early morning Brooklyn Park dwelling fire have positively identified.  They are:

Lettitia Sinnah, age 39

Sundima Sinnah, age 17

Christopher Rickman, age 45


Just before 2:40 this morning firefighters were dispatched for a reported dwelling fire in the 100 block of Hilltop Road West.  The first arriving firefighters encountered heavy fire from a two story, single family dwelling.  Firefighters immediately made entry and removed the three unconscious victims from the dwelling.  They were all transported to local hospitals where they were pronounced dead.

At the time of the fire, the dwelling was occupied by four family members- two parents and two sons.  The fire is believed to have originated in a rear bedroom occupied by the 20 year old son. Once he discovered the fire there was a delay in calling 911 as he attempted to extinguish it himself.  He evacuated the residence as did both of his parents.  The 17 year old male victim remained in the dwelling on the second floor.

As the fire progressed, the mother, Lettitia Sinnah, reentered the dwelling in an attempt to rescue her son.  She was overcome by smoke and heat.  A neighbor, Christopher Rickman, age 45, also entered the dwelling in an attempted rescue and was also overcome by smoke and heat.  All three were removed by firefighters and transported to area hospitals where they were pronounced dead.

Investigators from the Fire and Explosives Investigation Unit were on the scene and the investigation into the cause of the fire is active and ongoing.  The estimated dollar loss is

An All Hazards Response Organization, Committed to Your Safety


This tragic incident emphasizes the need for working smoke alarms on all levels of a residence and in every sleeping area.  It is believed that smoke alarms were operative in a newer section of the house which was an addition but not in the older part of the residence.  This fire also emphasizes the need for prompt evacuation and to remain outside of a dwelling once evacuated.  A fire that may have caused the tragic loss of one life has resulted in the loss of three.

Firefighters will be in this Brooklyn Park neighborhood on Saturday morning assisting residents in checking their smoke alarms and installing smoke alarms for residents who do not have them.

 Pastor is a missionary from Africa

From UB Central: The church even brought in a missionary from Africa, Rev. Samuel Sinnah, in November to help with the new focus. At times, the transition hasn’t been easy, he admitted. Americans typically are a little more reserved in their celebrating during services than Africans, who like rapid, upbeat songs and dancing, he said.

After the revival, Sinnah said the service was like a marriage of African and American traditions.
“It becomes a way of learning from each other,” Sinnah said. ….MORE

ABC7 reports that:

The identities of the three people killed were not immediately released, but neighbors tell ABC 7 that the woman is the wife of a local pastor and the teen that died is their son.

The other victim who died is a neighbor who tried to help the family.

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