Family displaced following Finksburg fire

A family escaped from a blaze that seriously damaged a Finksburg home on Sunday, March 24.

No injuries were reported to civilians or firefighters.


“This is about the third house fire in the Finksburg–Gamber area in the past several days,” said Gamber Fire Company Assistant Chief Alan Barnes during the extensive cleanup after the fire.

He was referring to a fire Wednesday in the 2900 block of Hughes Road in Finksburg and a garage fire Saturday in the 1000 block of Cindy Lane outside of Westminster

Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire said that the fires are completely unrelated and are being investigated separately.

Firefighters from Carroll and Baltimore counties responded to a report to the Carroll County Emergency Communications Center of a house fire in the 2800 block of Armacost Avenue in Finksburg, at approximately 2 p.m., according to Kevin Dayhoff, spokesman, chaplain and assistant secretary for Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Co. No. 1.

Upon arrival, Barnes discovered active fire coming from the rear of a two-story single family home with a basement.

According to Gamber spokesman Clay Myers, the family was in the basement at the time of the fire. Smoke alarms were present and operational, according to a notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM).

A rapid intervention dispatch and a water tanker task force was immediately requested by Barnes.

“Tankers from several companies set up a water shuttle and a draft site was established at Dede Road,” Myers said.

Over 50 firefighters from Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley, Gamber, Hampstead, and Sykesville companies were dispatched in addition to firefighters from Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Franklin, Chestnut Ridge, and Glyndon in Baltimore County, according to Barnes.

The fire was brought under control about 45 minutes later at approximately 2:45 p.m., according to Dayhoff. Baltimore Gas and Electric also responded, and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office provided assistance.

Investigators believe the fire started in a second floor sun-room before it spread to other parts of the house, according to the notice. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the OSFM.

The fire is estimated to have caused $260,000 worth of damage to the structure and another $125,000 damage to the contents of the house, according to the notice.

Friends and neighbors gathered quickly to assist and support the displaced family, according to Dayhoff. Fire crews stayed at the fire ground for about two-hours assisting the homeowners and the fire marshals, as well as cleaning-up and putting away equipment, he said.

“The fire service reminds folks to stay vigilant about fire safety and be sure that your smoke alarms are properly functioning,” said Barnes as he was leaving the scene of Sunday’s fire.


Gamber spokesman Bruce Bouch reinforced the point later when Dayhoff reached him by phone. Bouch reminded citizens that you can never let your guard down when it comes to fire safety.

Westminster fire company officials also cautioned residents to stay fire safe as the weather gets warmer and people get busier outdoors, according to Dayhoff.