Faulty exhaust joint from furnace blamed in fatal blaze

January 22, 1998|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The two-alarm fire that killed an Elkridge artist and destroyed her split-level home Jan. 12 was caused by furnace exhaust heat that escaped through a faulty joint and then ignited floorboards.

W. Faron Taylor, deputy chief fire marshal, said that Florence Riefle Bahr, 88, died of carbon monoxide poisoning, consistent with what apparently was a slow, smoldering fire that eventually became a raging blaze. It took firefighters 50 minutes to control the fire.

Taylor said a joint in the furnace's pipe, in the ceiling of the basement, broke some time ago, allowing heat to penetrate the floorboards of the house in the 6000 block of Old Lawyer's Hill Road.

That heat dried out the wood and ignited it.

"There's no way of telling when it became disconnected," said Taylor, adding that the gas furnace was working properly.

Bahr was known for her portrayals of historic events.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.