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Firefighters battle two Harford apartment fires Friday

Firefighters were called to a building in the Woodsdale Apartments complex in Abingdon Friday afternoon to extinguish a fire in one of the units that investigators say was caused by an unattended candle.
Firefighters were called to a building in the Woodsdale Apartments complex in Abingdon Friday afternoon to extinguish a fire in one of the units that investigators say was caused by an unattended candle. (Courtesy Joppa-Magnolia VFC)

Fire companies responded to two apartment building fires within about 12 hours of each other Friday in southwestern Harford County.

The first fire was reported at 2:09 a.m. Friday at the Homes at Town Plaza complex in the 300 block of Trimble Road in Joppatowne, according to a notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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A passerby saw smoke coming from the attic area of the three-story, 10-unit apartment building and notified 911, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company was the primary responding unit, and 30 firefighters controlled the fire in approximately 30 minutes, according to the notice of investigation.

Fire originated in the building’s heating unit and/or wiring and extended into the attic area, according to investigators, who are still trying to determine the exact cause.

No injuries were reported to occupants or firefighters. Smoke alarms im the building activated, investigators said.

Damage is estimated at $9,000 to the structure and $1,000 to contents, according to the notice of investigation.

Unattended candle blamed

The second fire was reported at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the Woodsdale Apartments in Abingdon and is blamed on an unattended candle, according to investigators.

Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company was called to the 100 block of Waldon Road after the occupant of another unit in the three-story building reported the fire.

Approximately 25 firefighters responded from Abingdon, Joppa-Magnolia and Bel Air volunteer fire companies and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office notice of investigation.

The fire was brought under control in approximately five minutes. The occupants of the apartment unit were not home. No injuries were reported to fire personnel or residents.

The building’s smoke alarms activated. The complex was built before state and county laws began requiring fire sprinklers in multi-family housing, according to the notice of investigation.

“A resident was returning home when she smelled smoke and heard the smoke alarm sounding inside [a neighboring unit,” while another resident noticed the door was warm to the touch,” the notice of investigation states. “After extinguishing the fire, firefighters located and rescued two pet cats inside the involved apartment. Both are in good condition.”

The fire was contained to the one unit and all other residents were able to return to their apartments, investigators said.

Structural damage is estimated at $5,000, damage to contents at $2,500.

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