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CHARLES COUNTY (December 10, 2018) –Deputy State Fire Marshals are conducting an origin and cause investigation of late night fire that occurred on December 9, 2018, in a one story commercial building. The property is South Winds Motel, located at 6365 Crain Highway in La Plata. The owner of the property is Timothy Hart.

                The 911 call was received at approximately 11:21 p.m from a neighbor.  Approximately 60  Fire personnel from La Plata Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding fire departments responded to the one alarm fire.  The fire was placed under control within approximately seven minutes.  An attempt by a Law Enforcement Officer was made to rescue the occupant but was unsuccessful due to the amount of smoke and heat. 

According to a witness at the scene, she was alerted to the fire by a friend while she was walking to a McDonalds across the street. When she arrived back at the motel room, she could see flames through the window. 

She kicked in the front door  and was about to enter the residence to help the elderly resident. A male neighbor grabbed her and said “do not go in there!” 

Moments later the Police Department arrived and begin extinguishing the fire. 

Witnesses state that the La Plata Police Department had been to the motel room at least twice in the previous hour prior to the fire. 

No smoke alarms were located during the investigation.  The damage caused approximately $15,000 to the structure and approximately $5,000 to the contents.  The origin and cause of the fire is currently under investigation.  

The victim was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending identification of the victim.

Courtesy of the Office of the State Fire Marshal

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation’s Division is assisting with the investigation.

This is all the information available at this time. Additional information will be released once it becomes available.


La Plata,, MD- At 11:27 p.m. December 9,2018 a 91-1-1 call was received for a room fire at the South Winds Motel on Crain Highway in La Plata, MD.

The call reported that an elderly women was trapped. According to reports the fire was discovered by the Police Department by a neighbor, who also put out the fire. Units report the victim is deceased.

The incident is under investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...