A woman escaped from her ranch-style house in the 700 block of Lake Drive in the Deep Run area of the county after a fire erupted in her laundry room about 10:15 a.m. Friday.
Freddie Miller told fire officials she went to the lower level of her home, opened the door to the laundry room and discovered the room ablaze.
She said she ran to the home of her son, Bryan Miller, about a quarter-mile away, to report the fire.
Mr. Miller said he rushed to his mother's home, grabbed a garden hose and started to enter the lower level but could only get about five feet inside the door when he was stopped by the extreme heat and heavy smoke.
Fire officials from Manchester said the smoke was pouring from every opening of the two-level structure and the eaves of the attic when they arrived.
Manchester Assistant Fire Chief Donnie Nott called for a second alarm, and units from Lineboro, Hampstead, Westminster and Pleasant Valley were dispatched. Firefighters from Parkville, Pennville and Pleasant Hill in York County, Pa., also assisted.
The first firefighters to enter the building discovered a helium tank inside and quickly removed it because of its explosive nature. The tank was used to inflate helium balloons by Ms. Miller's daughter, Ticia Miller, who lives at the house but was not there when the fire was discovered. The tank was nearly empty, according to a family member.
The blaze got into the walls of the laundry room and started toward the upper level of the house, but firefighters were able to stop the flames from extending throughout the structure.
Members of the Pleasant Hill paramedic unit set up an area to check the blood pressure of firefighters as they cam out of the smoke-filled home.
The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the blaze.
Damage to the house was put at $45,000.
No one was injured.