Fire begun by cigarette destroys Crofton house

April 28, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

A three-alarm fire that started from a discarded cigarette destroyed a house in Crofton yesterday afternoon, causing $250,000 in damage and threatening two neighboring residences, Anne Arundel County fire officials said.

Firefighters received the first call on the fire at 2:01 p.m. from a neighbor who saw the front of the house in the 1400 block of Crofton Parkway in flames. The first trucks arrived 6 minutes later, and firefighters quickly called for the second and third alarms.

It took 45 firefighters operating with 12 fire engines and four ladder trucks 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control. No injuries were reported.

Battalion Chief Gary Sheckells, a Fire Department spokesman, said one of the owners, Bernadette Fowler, came home for lunch between noon and 1 p.m. She discarded a cigarette in a freshly-mulched flower bed outside the front door on leaving, the chief said.

Chief Sheckells said the fire slowly spread from the mulch bed to the front of the home, climbed up an outside wooden wall and raced across the ceiling.

The chief said four elderly people -- relatives of Ms. Fowler and her husband, Thomas -- were on the back porch socializing, as they do every Wednesday, and thought they smelled something burning, but discounted it.

About 2 p.m., a man who lives across the street saw the front of the house in flames, called 911, and ran to alert the people on the back porch.

The fire was declared under control at 2:41 p.m. Chief Sheckells said the house was a total loss.

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