2-alarm fire damages home on Romar Drive

Neighbor smells smoke, wakes elderly couple

they escape unhurt

August 03, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

An elderly couple managed to get out before a two-alarm fire engulfed their house outside Annapolis early yesterday after a neighbor who smelled smoke woke them.

Burton Kyle, 86, and his wife Eleanor, 80, were not hurt, but their Romar Drive home was severely damaged, fire department spokesman Capt. Allan Graves said.

According to Graves, Peg Smyth, a resident who lives two doors from the Kyles, was sleeping with her windows open and smelled smoke.

She checked her own house first, then went outside to find the blaze shooting through the roof of her neighbors' rancher. She pounded on their door, woke the couple and helped them escape.

Smyth's daughter called 911 shortly before 6 a.m., Graves said. By the time firefighters reached the house, the roof over the family room was engulfed in flames. Firefighters suspect the fire started in that room.

Firefighters put out the fire by 6: 30 a.m., Graves said. Investigators were still searching yesterday for the cause of the blaze.

"They were lucky the neighbors were in tune with what was happening," Graves said.

Half of the house -- the side with the family room, living room and kitchen -- was burned. There was smoke and water damage to the other side, where the bedrooms are, said John Meyer, a neighbor.

Neighbor David Aland said residents along Romar Drive offered the elderly couple shelter in their homes, but the Kyles declined and stayed instead at an Annapolis hotel.

Mr. Kyle declined to comment last night.

"It was kind of scary to see a house go up in flames," Aland said. He said the Romar community association will likely do something for the Kyles, who have lived in the close-knit waterfront community at least 20 years.

"The neighbors will rally around as they always do," he said. "That's the way this neighborhood is."

Two other fires yesterday caused limited damage to a Severna Park garage and to an attic in a Pasadena home.

The first, in the 100 block of Bellehahn Court, began shortly after 9 a.m. in a detached garage. The single-alarm fire began when a lawnmower was placed too close to combustibles, Graves said. Firefighters extinguished the flames in about 20 minutes.

Graves did not have an estimate of the damage, but said it was mostly limited to the garage contents.

About 10: 40 a.m., another single-alarm fire broke out in the second floor of a home in the first block of Brookfield Road in Pasadena.

The fire was caused by careless smoking, Graves said.

The residents had left the home about 20 minutes before the fire was discovered. No one was injured.

Graves said firefighters extinguished the blaze in less than half an hour.

Pub Date: 8/03/99

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