A smoke alarm alerted two sleeping Sykesville residents to a fire burning inside their home, giving them and their dog enough time to escape the house before it went up in flames early Wednesday, according to a local fire chief.
A two-story, single-family home in the 800 block of Caren Drive caught fire at about 1:17 a.m., according to Eddie Ruch, chief of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department. The Office of the State Fire Marshal found the fire was accidental, caused by hot coals from a grill being placed too close to combustible materials on the rear deck, according to a news release. The fire caused about $450,000 in damage to the structure and $50,000 damage to the home’s contents, the fire marshal found.
One Sykesville firefighter suffered a minor burn to his wrist, but was not transported for treatment, according to Ruch. A man and a woman living in the home were displaced and planned to stay with relatives, Ruch said.
The residents and their dog escaped before firefighters arrived, according to Ruch.
“The smoke alarm is actually what alerted them to the fire,” he said.
When Ruch arrived, the back of the house, attic and roof were in flames, though he did not know where exactly the fire began.
Firefighters began by fighting the blaze internally, then had to evacuate for their own safety, according to Ruch.
“The conditions deteriorated pretty rapidly,” he said.
Firefighters battled the blaze indoors for about 10 to 15 minutes before switching to an exclusively exterior attack, he said. They put the fire out within about 40 minutes then re-entered the structure to tackle remaining hot spots, according to Ruch. Sykesville firefighters returned to the fire station at about 4:21 a.m., he said.
Firefighters from Sykesville, Gamber, Westminster, Winfield, and Howard County’s West Friendship fire companies responded, Ruch said.