Eighteen people were displaced in a two-alarm fire Saturday that spread to eight town houses in Aberdeen, the Harford County Volunteer Fire Association said.
Three town houses in the eight-house block collapsed under fire and water damage. All eight are considered total losses, said Oliver Alkire, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Fire Marshal. He previously said four houses collapsed. The estimated cost in damages is $5 million.
Firefighters from Aberdeen and Abingdon saw the fire in the distance around 10:45 p.m. while responding to the 4700 block of Witchhazel Way and immediately called for a second alarm, which brings more fire crews from neighboring jurisdictions. About 60 firefighters placed the blaze under control in about two hours.
One firefighter had a medical issue that was not life-threatening.
Alkire said the fire is believed to have started in the middle of the row of town houses and near the rear of a house. The heavy fire rapidly spread throughout the entire block. The heat and flames melted cars.
“The heat from the fire was so intense it caused extensive heat-related damage to multiple other nearby homes,” the fire marshal’s office said in a statement.
Fire crews brought in heavy machinery to demolish the three houses that collapsed upon one another from fire damage. The other houses sustained extensive water, smoke and heat damage.
The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire and whether it started inside or outside. Harford County Disaster Assistance and the American Red Cross are helping people displaced by the fire.