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Early Morning House Fire Injures Two

February 15th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

Two dogs are safe, and two people are recovering from minor injuries after discovering a fire in their LaVale home early this morning. LaVale Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding area departments were dispatched to the 11300 block of New York Avenue just before 4:00 a.m. Firefighters arrived minutes later with the one-story rancher ablaze. It took 20 minutes and 40 firefighters to control the two-alarm fire. One firefighter sustained a minor injury and was treated and released at the scene. 

The Office of the State Fire Marshal was requested to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. Deputy State Fire Marshals determined the homeowner and her son-in-law awoke to a fire in the living room after hearing a series of noises. Both were able to exit the home, along with two dogs. The male occupant sustained non-life-threatening injuries after going back into the home to retrieve a set of keys and later fell on ice. The Allegany Department of Emergency Services transported him to UPMC Western Maryland. The female owner was transported to the same facility by personal vehicle for minor smoke inhalation.  

Deputy State Fire Marshals determined an unattended candle located in the living room was the cause of the fire. Investigators also concluded a smoke alarm was present; however, dead batteries are suspected in preventing the alarm to properly activate. American Red Cross is assisting the family after the fire caused over $150,000.00 in damages. 

"This incident has several teachable moments with tragedy being barely avoided," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. Geraci offered the following advice, "First, this fire shows the importance of not only having, but testing smoke alarms monthly. Citizens are reminded to replace any battery-only operated smoke alarm over ten years old with a unit powered by a 10-year sealed-in battery. These early warning devices can be the difference between life or death in an incident of an uncontrolled fire inside our homes. Second, never go back into a burning house. Once you and your family have exited, call 911. Get out, stay out." stated Geraci.