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Woman, 89, dies in blaze in Aberdeen subdivision

The Baltimore Sun

An 89-year-old woman perished yesterday in a fire that spread quickly through the lower level of the Aberdeen house in which she lived, fire officials said.

Edna Dennison shared the split-level home in the 700 block of Cambridge Ave. with Lorraine and Thomas Gray, her daughter and son-in-law, who also were her caregivers. She was bedridden and unable to escape from her basement bedroom, family members said.

"My wife heard a popping noise, and then there were flames," said Thomas Gray, who rushed home from his job at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Perry Point. "It all happened so quickly."

Several neighbors in the 20-year-old subdivision at the western end of the Harford County city spotted flames and smoke and tried to help Lorraine Gray rescue her mother. One neighbor suffered from minor smoke inhalation and was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, fire officials said.

"Smoke was coming from the side of the house and several people used garden hoses, until the firefighters got here," said Jackie Osborne, a neighbor.

Volunteer firefighters from Aberdeen and Havre de Grace, as well as a unit from Aberdeen Proving Ground, responded to the fire. The initial 911 call was recorded at 3:24 p.m. The Aberdeen company, the first on the scene, arrived at 3:30 p.m., fire officials said.

"It took 10 minutes to extinguish," said Rich Gardiner, spokesman for Harford County Department of Fire and Emergency Services. "The body of the fire damaged the basement of the home."

Deputy Fire Marshal Joseph Zurolo said the investigation into the cause is continuing. Investigators found no evidence of working smoke detectors in the home.

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