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Four displaced after early morning house fire in Abingdon

Four people were displaced after a fire at a home in the 4000 block of Sharilynn Drive in Abingdon early Friday, May 1.
Four people were displaced after a fire at a home in the 4000 block of Sharilynn Drive in Abingdon early Friday, May 1. (Courtesy Joppa-Magnolia Vol. Fire Co.)

An early-morning fire in an Abingdon home displaced four people Friday, the Office of the State Fire Marshal reported.

The fire began in the laundry room of the one-story manufactured home on the 4000 block of Sharilynn Drive in Abingdon. The home’s occupants woke up to smoke and fire emanating from their laundry room and called 911 at 4:25 a.m.

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They tried to extinguish it with a bucket of water but were overwhelmed by smoke and fast-spreading flames, the office reported, and had to leave the home.

Two brothers, Roger and Robert Barnes, and two of Roger Barnes’ adult children were staying at the home. Those four are now being assisted by Harford County Disaster Assistance in view of the extensive damage done to the home.

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Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire said that investigators consider the home “a total loss.”

The fire did an estimated $200,000 of damage in total and took the Abingdon Fire Company approximately 30 minutes to extinguish, the office reported. About 35 firefighters responded to the blaze, and nobody was injured.

The home had one smoke alarm, but its batteries were dead and it did not activate, Alkire said, underscoring the need to regularly check and maintain smoke alarms.

Maryland requires homes come equipped with sealed 10-year smoke alarms that have built-in batteries. The advantage to those 10-year smoke alarms over the 9-volt battery-powered types are their longevity; they are easier to set and forget than those powered by 9-volts, which should have their batteries changed every six months, Alkire said.

The Abingdon home’s smoke alarm was powered by a 9-volt, he said.

Every home should have a 10-year smoke alarm installed, Alkire said, but 9-volt smoke alarms should not be discounted if they are already installed in homes. They still function, but they should be replaced after 10 years. Alkire encouraged people to contact their local fire companies or fire departments to check and install new smoke alarms.

The preliminary cause of the fire is under investigation, the office reported.

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