CHARLES COUNTY, Md. (January 17, 2021)—Deputy State Fire Marshals are continuing their investigation of a house fire in Waldorf that claimed the life of the owner.
On Sunday, January 17, the Charles County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a house in the 2000 block of Bainbridge Court to check the homeowner's well-being. Upon their arrival, sheriff's deputies had to make forcible entry into the home. Upon entering the home, deputies discovered a fire that had self-extinguished and a deceased male victim. The Office of the State Fire Marshal was requested to the scene to conduct an origin and cause investigation along with the Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department for precautionary purposes.
Deputy State Fire Marshals concluded the fire originated in the home's living room and was caused by smoking material igniting combustibles. While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the victim is believed to be the seventy-one-year-old owner.
Investigators did locate smoke alarms in the home; however, they have been unable to determine whether they activated at the time of the fire.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to remind all Maryland residents of the importance of testing their smoke alarms every month and changing the batteries in the devices every six months. If the smoke alarm is 10-years or older, homeowners need to install 10-year lithium battery tamper resistant smoke alarms with the silence/hush feature. This applies to both hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms. In addition to having working smoke alarms, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci also emphasizes the importance of having planned and practiced escape routes for your home, including knowing two ways out of every room.