CALVERT — Investigators are blaming improperly discarded campfire ashes for a blaze that destroyed a shed and its contents on a residential property in Calvert, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
The property owner, whom investigators identified as Christina Smith, called 911 at 11:58 p.m. on Tuesday after discovering flames and smoke coming from the outbuilding in the 100 block of Quaker Lane, which, located in the Calvert area, is several miles north of North East, fire officials reported.
Approximately 15 firefighters with area volunteer fire companies battled the blaze for about five minutes, before bringing it under control, fire officials said. The Community Fire Co. of Rising Sun served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.
The blaze caused an estimated $3,000 in structural damage to the 15’-by-30’ shed, including its front porch, and destroyed approximately $7,000 in belongings inside the outbuilding, according to Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire, an agency spokesman. An emergency dispatch described the outbuilding as a “shed shed.”
MOSFM detectives determined that the blaze started on the shed’s front porch, where, according to the listed preliminary cause of the fire, improperly discarded campfire ashes ignited nearby materials, according to Alkire.
Tuesday night’s shed fire prompted MOSFM officials to issue a caution to residents.
“Citizens are reminded to place discarded ashes into metal containers, soak the ashes with water and, if available, place a lid on the container. Containers should be at least 10 feet away from the exterior of any structure or other combustibles,” Alkire outlined.