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Crews for Harford and Cecil counties are on the scene of a fire in the 4000 block of Webster Road in Havre de Grace.
Crews for Harford and Cecil counties are on the scene of a fire in the 4000 block of Webster Road in Havre de Grace. (Erika Butler/The Aegis)

One person died in a three-alarm house fire Wednesday near Havre de Grace, a spokeswoman for the Office of the State Fire Marshal said.

Multiple fire companies from Harford and Cecil counties responded to the blaze in the 4000 block of Webster Road after 911 received multiple phone calls from neighbors reporting “a lot of smoke and flames,” said Emily Witty, a public information officer for the fire marshal’s office.

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The fire was not considered under control until 3:15 p.m., Witty said, approximately three hours after it was first reported.

“Firefighters encountered a very big scene, that’s why so many people are on deck,” she said.

The fire escalated quickly and the two-story house became completely engulfed in flames, Witty said.

Investigators from the fire marshal’s office, with support of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Maryland State Police, are working to determine the cause and origin of the fire, Witty said.

One adult was found dead at the scene; no additional people were at home at the time of the fire. Officials were not releasing the name of the deceased at this time, Witty said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine cause of death and identity of the victim.

The first arriving units from the Level Volunteer Fire Company reported a home fully involved in fire with a collapse, according to a social media post by the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association’s public information officers.

11/13, 1300: Volunteers from multiple companies across Harford and Cecil Co are working a two alarm house fire in the...

Posted by Harford County Md Fire & EMS PIO Media Page on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bethany Richards lives across the street from where the fire occurred. She said she was in the back of her house Wednesday and saw smoke in the field behind her house.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, Richards said looked out front and saw the house fully engulfed in flames.

“I’ve never seen a fire like that before,” she said. “It was quick.”

Richards called 911 then went across the street to see if she could get close to the house, but couldn’t.

A Harford County Sheriff’s deputy tried to get in one of the doors, but he, too, was unsuccessful, she said.

Art Elsner, who lives on Webster Road and used to own the lawn mower repair shop at the end of the street, said the house used to be the parsonage for Hopewell United Methodist Church.

Maryland property tax records indicate the house was built in 1880.

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Multiple fire companies from Harford and Cecil counties are on the scene of a fire in the 4000 block of Webster Road in Havre de Grace.
Multiple fire companies from Harford and Cecil counties are on the scene of a fire in the 4000 block of Webster Road in Havre de Grace. (Erika Butler/The Aegis)

Tala Mahan, who lives in Havre de Grace, saw the smoke on her way to Aberdeen. Unsure if 911 had been called, she turned down the road. Fire trucks arrived as she pulled in.

"The entire thing was engulfed, the front yard, the front porch,” Mahan said. “Not a single bit was not engulfed in flames.”

Sheri Tiller lives on Fair Hill Road a few hundred yards from the fire. Tiller said she was in her house when the power went out, leaving a “subtle silence.”

Her son, Jennings Tiller, said he went outside and saw “a big ball of black smoke.”

“The flames were as high as the trees,” Sheri Tiller said.

Level, Susquehanna Hose, Darlington, Aberdeen, Rising Sun, Bel Air, Jarrettsville, Norrisville, Delta-Cardiff and Water Witch fire companies were on the scene.

Anyone with additional information about the fire is asked to contact the Northeast Regional Office of the State Fire Marshal at 410-836-4852.

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