Twenty-four residents of a men's home at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville had to evacuate when an unattended cooking pot ignited about 6 p.m. Saturday.
The blaze, in a two-story brick building, was brought under control within 20 minutes and no one was injured, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Faron Taylor.
Mr. Taylor said the fire alarm sounded at the same time the fire was discovered by residents of the building.
The resident who lives in the unit where the blaze started was cooking food on the kitchen stove and left the building, fire officials said. The pot burned and spread to the cabinets above.
Engines from Sykesville, Gamber and Winfield, West Friendship of Howard County and Liberty Road of Baltimore County, and about 45 firefighters were dispatched. Units were at the scene for more than three hours.
The resident of the fire-damaged unit was relocated to another building, but the other 24 occupants were allowed to return to their apartments after the building was cleared of smoke.
Damage was estimated at $15,000.
* Sykesville: Gamber, Winfield and Lisbon of Howard County and Liberty Road of Baltimore County were dispatched for an apartment fire on Gaither Manor Drive at 6:59 p.m. Saturday. Units were out for 26 minutes.