WALDORF, Md. - An examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore has attributed smoke inhalation as the cause of death of a man killed in an early morning blaze on Beechwood Drive in Waldorf on January 29, 2007. The 5:20 a.m. fire killed Richard Duncan Byrd, age 48, the owner of the one story, wood frame, single family home. The wife of the deceased, Ms. Donna Byrd, was in North Carolina at the time of the fire visiting family.
Deputy State Fire Marshals have determined the fire began in the living room of the home, however their investigation continues to further narrow the point of origin and establish the cause. Investigators found a smoke alarm inside the home, however witnesses and first arriving firefighters report they did not hear the alarm sounding. Additionally, the home was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers. Charles County recently joined four other Maryland counties requiring these systems in all newly constructed homes.