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Home near Sykesville and Woodbine destroyed by heavy fire

Heavy fire caused a home on Md. 97, in between Woodbine and Sykesville, to collapse Thursday morning.

A fire in the 7400 block of Old Washington Road was called into the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department at about 10:18 a.m. There was an off-duty firefighter on the scene about two minutes after they got the call that reported heavy fire showing on the front side, according to firefighter Bill Flanagan, a spokesperson for the Sykesville fire company.

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There were no injuries, according to Flanagan. The Sykesville fire company was dispatched along with the Winfield fire company, as well as Lisbon, Glenwood and West Friendship in Howard County. According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, it took 50 firefighters two hours to control the fire.

The home collapsed at about 10:41 a.m. In a Friday morning notice of investigation, the fire marshal’s office said the home was a complete loss; the damage to the building was valued at $300,000 and the value of destroyed contents was estimated at $30,000.

According to the fire marshal’s office, the home had been under renovation at the time and was not occupied. Smoke alarms and sprinklers were not present in the home, the fire marshal’s office found.

The cause of the fire is unknown. The Office of the State Fire Marshal will investigate.

When asked Thursday whether the home had been occupied, Flanagan said he believed it “sounds accurate” that the home had been vacant for months.

There was a major concern about two propane tanks on one side of the home, Flanagan said.

“Propane, it’s very flammable, but when propane is in a tank if the tank gets too hot propane starts bubbling, increasing the pressure starts venting out of the tank. Which will really compound fire operations at that time. In a certain point it creates a possibility of rupturing if there’s a weak spot into tank,” he said. "So to prevent the rupturing of the tank, we usually cool the tanks with water. So we had a team working on cooling the tanks with water while the other teams were focusing on putting the fire out.”

The firefighters were able to prevent the propane tanks from exploding or rupturing, Flanagan said.

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The fire was under control at about 11:30 a.m. according to Gary McGinnis, public information officer for the Sykesville fire company.

Firefighters had to use water from the river at Md. 97 as their primary water support supply, according to Flanagan.

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