Pylesville man dies of smoke inhalation

A Pylesville man died of smoke inhalation after a small electrical fire in his bedroom Thursday afternoon, state fire marshals said

Sheldon "Sam" Deller, 52, was killed when a fire broke out in the first floor bedroom of his home in the 5000 block of West Heaps Road in Pylesville. The 12:41 p.m. fire caused $200 damage to the two-story, wood frame dwelling, according to a news release from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

Monitored Harford County emergency radio broadcasts reported a fire with rescue; however, the first arriving unit reported "nothing evident" showing outside of the dwelling.

Deputies with the Harford County Sheriff's Office and 17 firefighters from Norrisville, Fawn Grove in Pennsylvania and Whiteford volunteer fire companies responded to the home, where the fire had extinguished itself.

Deputy state fire marshals, along with detectives from the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack, determined Mr. Deller was asleep in his bedroom while the rest of the family his family - his sister, Tenea Sparks, his mother, Janice Cross, and her friend, Wilber Burnham - was on the second floor watching television, the Fire Marshal's Office said.

The fire began in Mr. Deller's bedroom. Investigators said Mr. Deller's pre-existing medical condition could have prevented him from escaping the home.

The victim's sister discovered heavy smoke throughout the house and alerted the rest of the family. While Burnham escaped, Sparks and Cross attempted to rescue Mr. Deller, but they were unsuccessful and were forced to escape as smoke filled home.

Sheriff's deputies found Mr. Deller in his bedroom; he was taken by Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company ambulance to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators believe Mr. Deller died from smoke inhalation, though an examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore will be conducted to confirm the cause of death, the Fire Marshal's Office news release said.

Fire investigators conducted a forensic examination and determined the fire originated in an overloaded electrical outlet. The fire smothered itself out but not before releasing heavy smoke and carbon monoxide.

Because of the fire being contained to the electrical outlet, the family was not displaced.

Norrisville Volunteer Fire Company was at the home on Monday and placed five new smoke alarms throughout the home, but not in Mr. Deller's room, according to the Fire Marshal's Office news release.

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