2 Md. FFs burned during rescue effort at fatal fire
The blaze at a waterfront home killed one resident and injured two firefighters who tried to rescue her
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
PASADENA, Md. — A woman died Thursday in a fire at a waterfront home in Pasadena, unable to escape as firefighters tried to rescue her, Anne Arundel County Fire Department officials said.
Callers from across Rock Creek called 911 around 11:30 a.m. to report flames and smoke emanating from the back of the waterfront home, said Capt. Erik Kornmeyer, a department spokesman.
It was the first fire fatality in Anne Arundel County this year.
The first firefighters arrived within six minutes of the call to find heavy fire and smoke. Kornmeyer said the house had a high-vaulted ceiling.
“So, the fire spread very quickly," he said.
Considering the home’s position on Rock Creek, with the Key Bridge in the backdrop, fire boats from the Baltimore City Fire Department were summoned, Kornmeyer said. The boats are equipped to draw water from creek, in case firefighters don’t have access to water from land.
The community surrounding Fairview Marina is not served by fire hydrants, Kornmeyer said. Firefighters trucked in “an extensive amount of water” on tankers.
Kornmeyer said the two injured Anne Arundel County firefighters suffer minor burns, either to their upper extremities or near their necks, while trying to rescue the woman. They were taken to the burn center at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
At least 38 firefighters responded, he said. They controlled the blaze in approximately 20 minutes.
The fire response included seven fire engines, three ladder trucks, three tankers, a rescue squad and a paramedic unit, along with support vehicles with food and extra oxygen for firefighters, Kornmeyer said.
Melissa Kelly, 27, was awakened by sirens. She said she walked outside and heard glass-shattering next door. The back of her neighbor’s house was completely engulfed in flames. Fire boats were speeding closer.
“(It happened) really fast,” Kelly said. “It spread like crazy.”
An elderly couple lived in the scorched house, according to Kelly. Though she said her neighbors were quiet and mostly kept to themselves, Kelly said her neighbor had a chihuahua that she would sometimes stroll around the neighborhood with.
“It’s really sad,” she said.
Kornmeyer said the male resident was not home at the time of the fire, but arrived shortly thereafter.
The house has been owned by the same couple for more than 30 years, according to Maryland property records. Two Lexus sedans and a golf cart were parked out front, untouched by the fire. Near the approximately 2,000 square foot house was a little brown shed with a chicken coop attached.
Neighbors stood by and watched firefighters work.
Anne Arundel County Fire and Explosives Investigation Unit, which is staffed by sworn police officers, is investigating the cause and origin of the blaze. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on scene, though Kornmeyer said the federal agency often joins county fire investigators at the scene.
Investigators “have an idea” where the fire started, but aren’t yet sure, Kornmeyer said. He said it was unclear if working smoke alarms were present.
As of 3 p.m., scores of firefighters were still present. Some filed away with axes and attic hooks. Others still worked the scene. One firefighter stood at the top of a ladder and streamed water from a fire hose on the house. Kornmeyer said they were ensuring no hot spots were left simmering.
While the back of the house was reduced to ash, it was clear the fire extended to the front, as the ceiling area was charred all the way through.
©2020 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
@AACoFD 1500 block of Fairview Beach Road. Investigators and Firefighters remaining on location of fatal fire. One female occupant did not escape. Name and age withheld pending family notification. Anne Arundel County's first fatal fire of 2020. Please test your smoke alarms. pic.twitter.com/SMKEdgtlF7— Anne Arundel County Fire Department (@AACoFD) May 14, 2020