Six family members, awakened by the sound of a smoke detector, were forced out of their house into subfreezing weather when fire erupted in the basement of their Uniontown Road home early yesterday.
Bob Thomas, Maryland deputy chief fire marshal, said a wood stove in the basement of the one-story wood frame house in the 2900 block of Uniontown Road ignited rugs nearby and spread to other materials.
The blaze, which broke out just past midnight, caused about $3,000 damage to the house, Mr. Thomas said.
New Windsor Fire Chief Ron Blacksten said 30 firefighters from New Windsor, Westminster and Union Bridge brought the blaze under control within 15 minutes.
Joseph Kureth, 47, his wife, Patricia, 43, and their four children escaped from the smoke-filled house. They returned to the building after firefighters cleared the smoke.
Chief Blacksten said the fire companies were on the scene for two hours and 49 minutes, but he said much of that time was spent getting fire engines up an ice-covered hill after the blaze was extinguished.