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Fire Marshal Confirms Death at Frostburg Apartments

October 5th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State Fire Marshal, in collaboration with the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division, is continuing its investigation into the circumstances surrounding an apartment fire that claimed the life of a Frostburg woman.

Just before 2:30 p.m., Frostburg Fire Department and multiple surrounding departments responded to an apartment fire at 316 Braddock Street. Firefighters arrived at the 19-unit apartment building with occupants reporting a woman was possibly still inside a second-floor apartment. Firefighters entered the apartment and contained the fire to the living room and subsequently discovered the victim. 

After a preliminary origin and cause investigation, Deputy State Fire Marshals have determined the fire originated in the apartment's living room, and the cause remains under investigation. While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy, the victim is believed to be the 54-year-old tenant.

Deputy State Fire Marshals believe the owner woke up and attempted to extricate herself from the apartment before succumbing to smoke inhalation. Investigators discovered that smoke alarms were present; however, they had been disconnected and the batteries removed. 

"This tragic incident during Fire Prevention Week is a heartbreaking but real example of why you should never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms. Get out, stay out. Have working smoke alarms and an escape plan in place," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci

The victim will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore to determine the exact cause of death and where she will be positively identified.