An early morning fire in Harford Village North Apartments breached the roof of the Forest Hill apartment complex, displacing a family of four.
Just after 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning, emergency personnel were dispatched to the 1600 block of Denise Drive in Forest Hill for a reported fire in the three-story apartment building.
The occupants discovered the fire within the exterior furnace room and exited their apartment, alerting other tenants within the building. The fire breached the roof of the apartment, however was contained to the furnace room and the immediate attic area above.
Forty firefighters from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company responded to the single-alarm blaze and had it under control within 30 minutes.
The preliminary cause of the fire is due to furnace malfunction.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal estimated the fire caused $50,000 in damage to the structure and another $10,000 in damage to its contents. No injuries were reported. Smoke and fire alarms were present and operated. There is no sprinkler system present.
The occupants and their 19-month-old and 2-1/2-month old children are currently displaced.
For those who don’t know how furnaces work, we suggest to follow the Harbord County fire department’s advice.
Furnace fires can be caused by a variety of malfunctions, depending on the type of system installed in the home. Furnaces often burn fuel and force warm air through the home. Any time fuel is being burned and combustion is taking place, there’s the potential for a house fire. Common causes of furnace fires include:
-Unintentional ignition of dust in the air around the heat chamber
-Excessive buildup of heat inside the heat chamber
-Buildup of gas or fuel, causing an explosion
Watch for signs of a potential problem. You should never see charring or soot on the outside of your furnace, and if you do, turn off the unit and call for an HVAC technician as soon as possible. Also, if your furnace turns on but blows only cold air, turn off the system. It could be producing heat which isn’t being distributed. Make sure to replace your furnace filters at least once every 90 days, if you still haven’t done so, start looking for furnace filters today.