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State Fire Marshals Investigate Fatal Garrett County Fire

March 30th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

A joint investigation between the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division continues after a house fire claimed the life of a Garrett County man Wednesday morning. 

At around 9:00 a.m., Deer Park Community Volunteer Fire Department, Bittinger Volunteer Fire Department, and surrounding departments were alerted for a house fire at 70 Upper Green Glade Road in Swanton after a passerby called 911. 

Firefighters arrived with heavy fire throughout the two-story home, and it was reported a person was possibly still inside. It took twenty-five firefighters nearly two hours to control the two-alarm blaze; however, the home eventually collapsed. 

After several hours, with the assistance of heavy equipment, firefighters and investigators located an adult victim within the remains. 

The victim has preliminarily identified to be a 19-year-old male occupant. The victim was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore to determine the exact cause of death and where he will be positively identified.

Red Cross is assisting five other family members who were not home when the fire broke out, and upwards of 14 pets also perished due to the fire. 

The cause remains under investigation, and Deputy State Fire Marshals are still attempting to confirm if the home had a working smoke alarm. 

"You only have seconds to escape a fire," said State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci. "Please, make sure you check your smoke alarms today. The sooner you hear an alarm, the sooner you can get out, and the better chance you and your family have to escape. It can be a matter of life or death for you and your loved ones," stated Geraci.

A joint investigation between the police agency having jurisdiction and the Office of the State Fire Marshal is standard operating procedure whenever a fatal fire occurs.