ELKTON – Investigators are blaming an “unattended open-air burning” for a blaze that spread to a storage shed, a wooden fence and then two adjacent townhouses Tuesday northeast of Elkton, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.

An occupant of one of those townhouses called 911 at 2:11 p.m., after discovering the blaze in the 400 block of Willow Drive, which is in the Winding Brook neighborhood off Fletchwood Road, a short distance west of the Delaware state line, fire officials reported.

Approximately 20 firefighters with area volunteer fire companies battled the blaze for about one hour, before bringing it under control, fire officials said. Singerly Volunteer Fire Co. of Elkton served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.

The blaze caused an estimated $60,000 in structural damage, and it destroyed approximately $10,000 in contents, according to Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire.

Investigators identified Veronique Dove and William Leonhard as the owners/occupants of the townhouses.

MOSFM detectives listed “accidental” as the cause of the fire after completing an on-scene investigation, fire official said. They determined that flames from an unattended open-air burning had spread to the wooden outbuilding, fence and adjacent townhouses, according to fire officials.

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