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Three safely escape house fire in Westminster

Two adults and one child safely escaped from a house fire in Westminster on Saturday night.

The home was rendered uninhabitable as a result of the fire, which is believed to have started in the basement. The Red Cross was reported to be helping the displaced family.

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Firefighters were called to the 600 block of Spring Meadow Drive, near the closest intersecting street of Wyndswept Way in the Meadow Creek neighborhood at the western-end of Westminster off Taneytown Pike at around 8:40 p.m.

Westminster city police were first on the scene and reported smoke showing from the front door. It was a quiet evening with unusually warm January temperatures near 70 degrees as 13 pieces of fire suppression equipment and approximately 30 firefighters from throughout Carroll County rushed into the neighborhood.

Two adults and a child were home at the time. They safely escaped the fire and alerted the Carroll County Emergency Communications Center of a “fire inside the house.”

Upon arrival, Westminster engine 32 quickly located a fully involved working fire which had engulfed the basement of the two-story single family dwelling; and called for an RID (Rapid Intervention Dispatch).

In addition to the Westminster police and fire company, fire suppression equipment and firefighters from New Windsor, Pleasant Valley, Taneytown, and Reese responded, as did BGE, the Maryland State Police, the Red Cross, the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, Pleasant Valley fire company canteen, and Westminster Water–Utilities Maintenance. Pleasant Valley Lt. 6-1 assumed command.

Incident Command reported a “quick knock” on the fire, with the fire under control by 9:05 and the fire completely out by 9:09 p.m. and checking for extensions. The fire was stopped from spreading and was contained to the basement which suffered extensive damage. At around 10 p.m. all the hoses and equipment were packed-away, and most of the fire suppression equipment was put back in service and started home.

Westminster firefighters and engine 32 remained on the scene for clean-up, overhaul, and to assist the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s investigation until past 11 p.m.

No firefighters were injured.

The cause and determination of the fire remains under investigation by the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal, with investigators remaining on the scene for an extended length of time into the evening.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, because of new building materials and furnishings, occupants have only 3 to 4 minutes to escape a burning house, whereas they had as much as 15 minutes years ago. And basement fires are often considered to be among the most dangerous house fires.

Times correspondent Kevin Dayhoff also serves as the Westminster Fire Department public information officer and chaplain.

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