Firefighters faced an uphill battle as they responded to a fire that destroyed a two-story home in Mount Airy early Tuesday.
About 60 firefighters converged on the fire in the 2300 block of Gillis Road, near Fleming and Davis roads, shortly after 4 a.m., Winfield fire company emergency medical services Capt. Christopher Broussard said.
“Upon our arrival, we had a large, two-story single family home with heavy fire conditions on the second floor of the structure — fire completely through the roof,” Broussard said.
There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians, Broussard said, and no one was home at the time of the fire.
According to a Thursday morning notice from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the estimated cost of the fire was $760,000, and there was no fire alarm or sprinkler.
A “very steep” driveway stretching about 1,000 to 1,200 feet to the home made the job “extremely difficult” and “strenuous” for personnel running up the hill carrying heavy tools and hoses, Broussard said. Several pieces of fire apparatus were able to park close to the home, but those parked at the bottom of the incline had to increase pump pressure to get the water up the hill, Broussard said.
“It takes quite a bit of pump power,” he said.
Considering the size of the home, the amount of the fire, and the fatigue firefighters endured running uphill, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm to bring in additional personnel and equipment, according to Broussard.
The early hour also presented a challenge.
“It’s a very rough time of the morning, with people getting up to go into work, not able to come out ‘cause they know it’s going to be a long-duration incident,” he said.
Firefighters expelled about 41,500 gallons of water from tankers and nearby ponds and streams to put out the flames, according to Broussard, as there are no hydrants in the area. The fire raged for two hours before they felt they had it under control, Broussard said, and the blaze was out completely after more than three hours. He did not know in which room the fire started.
Sykesville fire company sprayed water from the top of its ladder truck, while firefighters below sprayed water from hose lines, Broussard said. There was no risk of the fire spreading to nearby structures as the home stood in a “large open yard,” he said.
Firefighters cleared the scene just after 8 a.m. Broussard said.
“The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Maryland State Fire Marshal,” Broussard said.
The home sustained “massive fire damage” and was declared a total loss, according to Broussard.
Personnel responded from Gamber, Mount Airy, Sykesville, and Winfield fire companies, plus Lisbon, Glenwood, and West Friendship fire companies from Howard County, Broussard said.