Fire officials are crediting a smoke alarm for saving the lives of a Joppa family after it awakened and alerted them to a fire in their basement, which eventually consumed the entire house.
Just before 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, emergency personnel were dispatched to the 400 block of Timber Lane in Joppa for the report of a dwelling fire in a one-story, single-family home.
The occupants were in bed and awoke to the sound of smoke alarms. Upon checking they discovered a fire within the basement. Both the husband and wife attempted to extinguish the fire with a portable fire extinguisher as well as all-purpose baking flour to no avail. The fire quickly spread beyond their control. Both occupants were able to escape the fire, but two cats perished.
Forty-five firefighters from Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, Bel Air, Abingdon, Fallston, Aberdeen, Kingsville, and Perry Hall responded to the single-alarm blaze and had it under control within an hour.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal estimated the fire caused $375,000 in damage to the house and another $125,000 in damage to its contents. There were no injuries reported.
The home and all contents are considered a complete loss by investigators. Friends and the American Red Cross are assisting. Deputy State Fire Marshals credit working smoke alarms for saving the lives of the occupants.
The preliminary cause of the fire remains under investigation.