Two confirmed dead after house fire near Taneytown

Fire crews and investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal were called to the 2200 block of Bear Run Road near Taneytown after a house fire with an explosion was reported early Friday morning. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The remains of two people have been recovered following a house fire, with a reported explosion, outside of Taneytown early Friday morning, but the cause and origin of the fire remain unclear.

Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire said the bodies are believed to be the elderly occupants of the home, but he could not confirm their identities until after a cooperative investigation with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.


The remains of a family pet were also recovered. Officials from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, as well as the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, are investigating.

Neighbors called 911 at 4:05 a.m. Friday, and reported a home in the 2200 block of Bear Run Road was completely engulfed in flames, according to a news release from the state fire marshal.

The one-alarm fire for the two-story, single-family dwelling was brought under control within one hour by firefighters from Taneytown and surrounding fire departments. By 11:40 a.m., firefighters had extinguished hot spots to the point they could begin to investigate, but remained on scene throughout the day to continue putting out hot spots and assisting investigators.

Alkire said it is unclear whether a fire began and led to the explosion or if the reported explosion was what started the fire. The fire marshal has ruled out natural gas as a cause of any explosion.

It appears the two living in the home were hoarders, which may have contributed to the blaze because of the amount of combustible items in the home, Alkire said.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office is conducting a joint investigation along with the fire marshal's office into the two deaths, as is standard procedure whenever a fire results in a fatality. Accelerant detection canine Kachina also assisted in the investigation, as the use of a canine is also standard procedure in a fatal fire incident, according to the fire marshal's office.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also assisting with the investigation into the cause and origin of the blaze at the request of the fire marshal.

The Maryland State Highway Administration has been assisting investigators by operating excavating equipment and removing large sections of fire debris.