From the Office of the State Fire Marshal:
BEL AIR, MD (July 19, 2013) – Deputy State Fire Marshals have concluded their investigation to determine the origin and cause of the early Wednesday blaze that displaced the owners of three homes and sent a firefighter to Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital with minor injuries.
Investigators determined the fire originated on the rear deck of 910 Pentwood Court with the cause being improperly disposed coals from a charcoal grill.
Misty Buoniconti, owner of the home, discovered the fire on the rear deck after hearing noises and decided to investigate. Buoniconti, her son and his friends were able to escape safely from the two-story, townhouse as well as the occupants in 908 and 912 Pentwood Court. Due to the intense flames, heat damage occurred at 914 Pentwood Court and two other dwellings to the rear of the involved homes.
The two-alarm blaze brought approximately 50 firefighters from Bel Air, Abingdon, Fallston and Joppa to the scene. It took firefighters approximately 30 minutes to bring the fire under control. One firefighter was transported to Bayview Hospital after falling through interior basement steps and has since been released. Two other firefighters sustained injuries but refused treatment at the scene.
The investigation by a team of Deputy State Fire Marshals revealed evidence that coals used for the grill were left inside a charcoal grill from the previous evening and were believed to have been cooled and extinguished prior placing the cover over the grill.
“With summer in full swing, Marylanders are urged to use caution when using both charcoal and gas grills. While this fire was accidental in nature, great caution should be taken in properly disposing of ashes with the safest method being to soak the ashes thoroughly with water before being disposed of” stated Acting State Fire Marshal Joseph C. Flanagan.
Damage to the homes was estimated at nearly $500,000. All families were assisted by the Red Cross and Harford County Disaster Assistance.