Aberdeen shed fire ruled accidental

Four people were displaced from a home in the 700 block of Schofield Road in Aberdeen after a fire destroyed a detached shed on the property and damaged the house Monday.

The fire caused $30,000 worth of damage to the wood-frame structures and the contents, according to a report from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office issued Tuesday.

The report stated the preliminary cause of the fire was "accidental, the result of an unattended controlled burning."

The property is owned by Richard and Maribeth Holder. The fire marshal's report stated three adults and a child were displaced, and the local chapter of the American Red Cross is providing assistance.

"Their house sustained some fire damage from exposure, and it's not habitable," Deputy State Fire Marshal Howard Ewing said Tuesday.

Ewing said criminal charges would not be filed since the fire was accidental.

He said a person could be charged if investigators could prove "willful malicious intent," which was not the case regarding the shed fire.

"It was simply a controlled burning that was left unattended and caught the shed on fire," Ewing explained.

Maryland residents must obtain a permit from their local health department to conduct any open burning, Ewing said.

The fire was reported Monday afternoon, and 25 firefighters from the Aberdeen, Level and Aberdeen Proving Ground fire companies responded. It took 30 minutes to bring the fire under control, the fire marshal's report stated.

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