A Severn family was left homeless yesterday by a fire that erupted in the kitchen Sunday evening because of forgotten French fries, the county Fire Department said.
Oil in a pan on the stove caught fire about 6:15 p.m., and flames quickly spread through the one-story, wood-frame bungalow on Gambrills Road.
No one was injured seriously, but the house is uninhabitable, said Battalion Chief John M. Scholz, a county Fire Department spokesman.
The owner, Betty Dehaven, 76, was home at the time with her son, William, 40, and her grandson Joshua, 10, and they smelled smoke, Scholz said.
Smoke detectors had been installed in the house but were not working properly, he said, adding: "It's important that everyone check their smoke detectors are working once a month."
Fire officials recommend that residents check detectors on an easy-to-remember day every month, such as the day the rent or mortgage payment is due or whatever date is easiest to remember.
The Red Cross helped the Severn family find temporary shelter, Scholz said.