State fire investigators credit a functioning smoke alarm and sprinkler system with alerting an Abingdon woman to a fire Friday afternoon and minimizing damage to the townhouse where she lives with other family members. The fire was reported shortly after 4 p.m. in the middle of a group townhouse in the 200 block of Ferring Court, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association. Twenty firefighters responded from the Abingdon, Bel Air and Joppa-Magnolia volunteer fire companies, according to a notice of investigation from the Fire Marshal’s Office. The fire was brought under control in approximately 20 minutes and no injuries were reported.
The fire originated in a second floor, front bedroom, investigators said. The cause had not been determined as of Monday. According to the notice of investigation, Anna Stewart, a grandmother who lives in the house with Ashley and Rafael Ramon and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, was alone in the townhouse and in the basement when she heard a strange sound. Upon investigating, she saw water coming through the living room ceiling and smoke coming from the second floor.
It was later determined the sprinkler had contained the fire to the bedroom where it originated, investigators said. “Deputy state fire marshals credit the fire sprinkler for containing the fire and allowing Ms. Stewart to safely escape,” the notice of investigation states. “Fire sprinklers also help firefighters by containing the fire to the area of origin, reducing the chance of injuries and/or death.” Investigators estimate the fire caused $5,000 damage to the dwelling and a $15,000 loss to contents. The family was displaced is being assisted by Red Cross, according to the notice of investigation.