A 62-year-old veteran died over the weekend from injuries she sustained in a fire at her Annapolis home, according to the Anne Arundel County Fire Department
Danielle Neal, who lived in the Heritage Harbour community, died April 29, days after she was rushed to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with life-threatening burn injuries she sustained in the Compass Drive blaze. Investigators ruled the fire accidental, determining it was caused by a lit cigarette near a home oxygen tank.
Neal was from a military family and served in the Marines Corps, leading her to travel frequently, according to her obituary, which notes that she was a breast cancer survivor and a “lover of dachshunds.” She lived in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Neal, who also served in the military. Gary Neal was not home when the fire broke out.
Danielle Neal served as an assistant adjutant for the Scottish-American Military Society’s Post 1814, the Central Maryland chapter of a veterans social group. She became involved when her husband helped found the local post about seven years ago, said Bruce Dull, the branch’s commander.
“They’re really, really fantastic people,” Dull said. “I have nothing but great things to say about them.”
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Neal’s role was to keep the post’s roster up to date and manage the phone tree, but Dull also recalled the couple’s generosity, always pitching in for fundraisers and the post’s efforts in the Wreaths Across America program.
Dull, who suffers from asthma, recalled that Neal’s family gave him a precious gift — an electronic bugle that could play taps without its operator blowing into it.
“There’s very few people that I could say as many good things about,” Dull said.
No funeral service is planned yet, but Neal’s family expects to hold a celebration of life in June.
Neal is the fourth county resident to die from fire this year.
In April, Joann Marie Smith, 75, died days after her Severn home caught fire. In March, neighbors in a tight-knit Ferndale community rallied around the family of Darlene Feeheley after she suffered fatal burns, and her husband was injured, when their Woodlawn Heights home caught fire. Also in March, Christopher Blake Isaksen, 62, was declared dead after a fire at a Quarterfield Road home.
Two people died from fire in 2021, and three were killed in house fires in 2020, according to the county fire department.