INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND – A single-family dwelling was destroyed by a fire on the evening of April 6, but the homeowner escaped unharmed, thanks to an activated smoke alarm.

The fire broke out around 9:46 p.m. at 4860 Smallwood Church Road, Indian Head, in Charles County, Maryland. The property owner, Scott Hoppe, discovered the fire and alerted the fire department.

Credit: Office of the State Fire Marshal

Upon arrival, firefighters found a large volume of fire in the roof area. Unfortunately, a structural collapse of the roof structure occurred shortly after their arrival, necessitating a defensive attack.

Over 100 firefighters from the 10th District Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, with two alarms sounding. It took 14 hours to control the blaze, and although no injuries or deaths were reported, the estimated loss of the structure and contents amounted to $750,000.

Firefighters could not extinguish areas of hidden fire and decided to allow the fire to burn until it was accessible by master streams the following morning. The area of origin remains undetermined, and the preliminary cause is under investigation.

Despite the devastation, Hoppe escaped unharmed, thanks to the activated smoke alarm. The device alerted the home’s occupants to the fire, allowing them to evacuate before the situation became more dangerous.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation, and fire protection engineering.

While the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of smoke alarms and the need for all homes to have working devices.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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