Smoke detector, resident’s actions limit fire damages

By Katie Demeria

A fire in Middletown on Friday was quickly contained due to the actions of a resident within the home, according to Frederick County Fire and Rescue Assistant Fire Marshal Kenneth Scott.

Authorities were alerted to the flames at 7731 Church St. at around 5:22 p.m., according to a Fire and Rescue news release.

The home’s two residents, one male and one female, were inside at the time. Both in their 70s, they were looking after a 12-year-old girl when the flames started, Scott said.

“I would like to stress that it was the smoke detector that saved them, and got them out of the house quickly,” he said.

The fire began in the bathroom, Scott continued. It was likely an electrical fire and will probably be ruled accidental, he said, as it was more than likely caused by equipment failure.

Either an electric baseboard or a vent fan probably caused the flames, as the fire traveled between the two, but it is unclear as of now which was the actual cause, Scott said.

The residents were alerted to the flames by their smoke detector. When the female resident approached the door, she opened it and saw flames. She immediately closed the door and all residents exited the house, Scott said.

“I told her, ‘you shutting that door, and you leaving quickly, that kept the fire contained long enough for the fire department to get there and extinguish it,'” Scott said. “If it wasn’t for her actions, that house could have been a lot worse.”

Firefighters were able to put the fire out in around 20 minutes, the news release stated. They remained on scene for an hour and a half.

“Fire damage to the residence was limited to the bathroom with minor smoke and water damage to the rest of the house,” the release stated.

Scott said that since there was only one bathroom in the residence, the residents are not currently living in the home.

“I did talk to the female resident today, she seemed a lot calmer, and they were getting their affairs in order,” Scott said. “I made sure to let her know that that smoke detector helped tremendously, and I told her she did an excellent job.”

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com