3-alarm fire destroys large house in Fulton

April 14, 2006|By MELISSA HARRIS | MELISSA HARRIS,SUN REPORTER

A three-alarm fire destroyed a large Fulton house early yesterday, causing $2.5 million to $3 million in damage and forcing firefighters to shuttle water from the nearest fire hydrant miles away at Fulton Elementary School, a county fire official said.

The fire erupted about 2:15 a.m. at the home of George Boarman, owner of Boarman's Meat Market in Highland. Boarman, his wife, Teresa, and their three children were asleep when sparks that "sounded like gunshots" popped from the back of the house, Teresa Boarman said.

When she heard the noise, she woke her husband. The popping noises also woke an older son, who had fallen asleep on the living room couch, and a younger son, who was upstairs. Teresa ran upstairs to get her son and awaken her daughter, then grabbed "what I thought was important" before escaping in her pajamas.

All of the home's contents were damaged by smoke and water. About 70 percent of the 5,500-square-foot structure remains standing. Smoke alarms went off, but only after the fire had been spotted. The home did not have a sprinkler system.

About 90 firefighters from Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties were needed to control the blaze, at the end of an approximately mile-long driveway off Scaggsville Road, near Fulton Estates Court. It took about 90 minutes to control the fire and another two hours to extinguish it, said Bill Mould, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Mould said investigators were "still digging" and would not release a cause of the fire.

Teresa Boarman said that the fire started in either a first-floor screened-in porch in the rear of the house or in the walk-out basement. She said her husband opened the door between the sitting room and the porch and smoke filled the room.

"We couldn't breathe," she said.

She grabbed her cell phone, the backup drive to her computer, and coats and shoes. The family moved their cars out of the garage.

"You don't have time to think," she said.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

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