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Dog dies in Forest Hill house fire Thursday

Smoke from Forest Hill house fire could be seen for miles

A dog died in a fire that caused heavy damage to a house in Forest Hill Thursday afternoon, according to Harford County fire officials.

The fire in the 1200 block of Walters Mill Road, which was reported around 12:30 p.m., drew firefighters and units from volunteer fire companies in Harford County and neighboring York County, Pa., according to Rich Gardiner, spokesperson for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association.

The first units arrived about 10 minutes after being called, and the fire was placed under control by 1 p.m., according to information Gardiner posted on the fire company's public information Facebook page. No residents of the dwelling or firefighters were hurt, he said.

First responders could see a column of smoke as they raced toward the scene, where Dave Williams, a spokesperson for the Fallston Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company, said he saw the smoke from Grafton Shop Road in Fallston.

The house is at the top of a wooded hill, with access from a dirt driveway. Tanker trucks with Fallston and the Delta-Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company were at the bottom of the driveway, with a fire hose snaking from the tankers up the hill to the fire engines at the top. Units from the Bel Air, Darlington and Whiteford volunteer fire companies also were there.

The middle portion of the single-story house was gutted, and the roof and exterior walls in that section collapsed. Firefighters shrouded in white smoke sprayed water on the burned parts of the structure.
Several investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office were at the scene.

According to a notice of investigation the Fire Marshal’s Office issued shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, the fire originated in the kitchen area of the home, whose owner is identified as Katherine Mayor.

“The owner was alerted to the fire after hearing her smoke alarm activate [and] was able to call 911 and safely escape,” the report states. “High winds contributed to the rapid spread of the flames. The home is considered a complete loss.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The loss of the structure and contents are estimated at $300,000, investigators said.

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