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State Fire Marshals Investigate Fatal Fire

January 6th, 2024 by WCBC Radio

The Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division continue to investigate a fast-moving Washington County fire that killed a child and sent two others to hospitals Friday evening.

The Smithburg Community Volunteer Fire Company and surrounding departments, including Frederick County Fire & Rescue and Franklin County, Pennsylvania firefighters, responded at 6:20 p.m. to a reported dwelling fire in the 20600 block of Military Road in Cascade. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered the home was converted into apartments, with a 24-year-old female and a one-year-old who was injured and other tenants stating another child was still inside. The fire was upgraded to two alarms, bringing nearly 75 firefighters to the scene. The injured female was flown to MedStar Washington Hospital Center by Maryland State Police Trooper 5, and the child was taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center. Firefighters and investigators later located the child inside the second-floor apartment. No other injuries occurred, and eight other tenants are displaced 

At this time, official identification and cause of death are pending with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Still, the victim is believed to be a 2-year-old resident of the apartment where the other family members were injured. 

The fire's origin and cause remain under investigation, and investigators have been unable to locate working smoke alarms. The fire marshal's office reminds all Maryland residents that smoke alarms have proven to be the difference between life and death in a fire emergency. "My heart aches after learning of another devastating fire, and every member of the Office of the State Fire Marshal extend our deepest condolences to the family," said acting State Fire Marshal Jason M. Mowbray. A joint investigation between the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the local jurisdiction is a standard operating procedure when a fatal fire occurs.