A 31-year-old man was killed and another seriously injured in a fire yesterday morning that damaged a townhouse they were renting in Arnold.
Michael Luke Hartley, who lived in the home in the 1500 block of Hickory Wood Drive, was pronounced dead shortly after being taken by ambulance to Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. Fire officials said they believed the cause of death was smoke inhalation.
Mr. Hartley's roommate, Andrew Brian Haite, also 31, was flown by Maryland State Police MedEvac helicopter to the burn unit at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in Baltimore, where he was listed in serious condition yesterday.
Capt. Gary Sheckells, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, said Mr. Haite suffered second-degree burns over 40 percent of his body.
The fire began just before 5 a.m. in an upstairs bedroom where at least one of the men was sleeping, the spokesman said, adding that fire investigators are not sure whether the smoke detector sounded. The cause was being investigated.
Mr. Haite awoke first and roused Mr. Hartley, Captain Sheckells said. Mr. Haite then escaped the blaze and ran to a neighbor's home, where he called the fire department. He then returned and tried to rescue his friend.
"He was unable to get inside due to the escalating fire and smoke," Captain Sheckells said, adding that investigators do not know why Mr. Hartley could not escape.
"It is our belief that as Mr. Hartley was exiting the building, he became overcome by smoke, became confused and lost consciousness," the spokesman said.
Captain Sheckells said there are many unanswered questions, and investigators hope to question Mr. Haite at the hospital.
Officials did not know who was in the room when the fire started or where firefighters found Mr. Hartley.
Captain Sheckells said the blaze was confined to the second-floor bedroom and was brought under control within minutes of firefighters arriving. Damage to the home was estimated at $45,000 and another $15,000 to its contents.
The spokesman said the home is owned by a builder in the Arnold area.
Mr. Hartley's death is the second fire fatality in Anne Arundel this year. In 1992, fires claimed five lives in the county.