Fire destroys bungalow north of Taylorsville Three escape 'ball of flames' unhurt SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

June 08, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

A small five-room bungalow north of Taylorsville was destroyed yesterday in a fierce fire that shot flames within inches of a 9-year-old boy who lived there.

Jennifer Holmes, who lived in the house in the 3500 block of Ridge Road with her husband, George Holmes Sr., and her three sons, said, "My sister and I were sitting in the living room and heard a gurgling sound coming from the kitchen.

"At first I thought it was the cabbage on the stove boiling over, but it was too loud, and my son George Jr. [the 9-year-old] walked toward the utility room to go to the kitchen to check the noise.

"As he stepped into the doorway from the living room, a huge, massive ball of flames shot across the room from the left corner to the right side of the small room just in front of him.

"I screamed as my sister [Ruth Thomas] rushed into the kitchen to try to get a bucket of water, but by then the entire room was in flames. I dialed 911 after we sent my boy outside, and we ran out."

The family had been in the house off Route 27 for six weeks, since moving from Pasadena into the building owned by Mrs. Holmes' sister and brother-in-law, who live about 100 feet from the burned building.

A neighbor rescued a Plymouth van from the side of the burning building and discovered that flames had scorched the left side of the recently purchased vehicle.

Two other sons of Mrs. Holmes, Robert Ross, 17, and Jonathan Ross, 13, had left the house about five minutes before the fire to walk to a nearby grocery. They returned as the fire equipment arrived.

Engines from Winfield; an engine, tanker and emergency squad from Mount Airy; and an engine from New Windsor were dispatched to the scene after the officer in the first unit at the blaze reported "heavy fire showing."

Mrs. Holmes said that within seconds of the outbreak of the fire, the inside of the house was so thick with black smoke that "you couldn't see your hand in front of your face."

The Winfield Fire Company assistant chief, Dan Warren, said, "Fire was blowing out the back of the building and the only thing we could do was attack it from the front."

Fire officials said they could see the smoke while they were still more than two miles away.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank Rauschenberg was at the scene in an attempt to pinpoint the cause of the blaze and assess the damage.

A malfunctioning propane water heater was one possibility.

No one was injured.

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