Investigators say embers from a chimney caused a fire that did an estimated $70,000 to a Bel Air home Sunday evening, but the outcome could have been worse had it not been for a quick thinking teenager living across the street and quick reaction by the homeowners.
The fire in a single family home, in the 500 block of Poplarwood Court off Red Pump Road, was reported shortly before 8 p.m. and brought fire companies from Bel Air, Fallston and Jarrettsville to the scene, according to the Harford Fire and EMS Association and the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.
"Volunteers from Bel Air, Fallston and Jarrettsville had this attic fire under control within minutes of arrival," the Fire and EMS Association reported on its media Facebook page. "The fire was contained to the front half of the attic and some exterior portions of the home. All occupants escaped with no injuries."
According to a notice of investigation released Monday morning by the Fire Marshal's Office, the family was inside the home and was alerted to the fire on the roof by a 17-year-old neighbor across the street.
The homeowner extinguished the fire in his fireplace with a fire extinguisher and then attempted to extinguish the roof fire, according to Oliver Alkire, a deputy state fire marshal based in Bel Air.
"Upon checking the attic, the owner encountered heavy fire in the attic," Alkire wrote in an e-mail. "The fire department arrived shortly thereafter and contained the fire to the roof and attic."
An estimated 40 volunteer firefighters from the three local companies responded to the scene, according to the Fire Marshal's Office. Damage to the home is estimated at $50,000; damage to contents at $20,000.
"This could have had a more tragic outcome if it was not for the time of day, the alert neighbor and the owner keeping the fire in check with his home extinguisher," Alkire wrote. "Where the fire breached the roof and entered the attic was above the owner's bedroom. The young woman without a doubt saved this family and their home from more damage than what had occurred. I commend her for her quick actions."