Columbia home suffers $100,000 in damage in early-morning fire


Squirrels are to blame for an early-morning fire that caused about $100,000 in damage to a single-family home in Columbia yesterday, the state fire marshal reported.

The animals chewed through building materials and residential wiring, sparking the blaze in the 5000 block of Bucketpost Court, the report said.

About 40 Howard County firefighters had the fire under control within 30 minutes. None of the four occupants was injured.

Patricia Choa spotted a glow in the hallway of the family home and alerted her husband and their two children, all of whom left the house safely, the report said.

Ted Meminger, deputy chief state fire marshal, said the fire marshal determined that the fire was caused by squirrels after investigators spotted a squirrel nest in the attic.

Squirrels, like other rodents, are a common cause of home fires, Meminger said, particularly when residents live in wooded areas.

M. Sean Kelly, spokesman for Howard County Fire and Rescue Services, recommends that people periodically check their attics and chimneys.

"It's good to make sure you don't have any extra residents," Kelly said.

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