NORTH EAST — An investigation is continuing after a blaze destroyed a home near North East over the weekend — killing a woman who lived there and her pet dog, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Investigators identified the victim as 71-year-old Anita June Rowland, who reportedly was trapped inside the dwelling in the 800 block of East Old Philadelphia Road (Route 7) after the fire broke out at some point shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday, when emergency dispatchers received the 911 call, fire officials reported.
Approximately 35 firefighters with several area volunteer fire companies battled the blaze for about 20 minutes, before bringing it under control, fire officials said. North East Volunteer Fire Company served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.
“Upon arrival, firefighters discovered the front of the one-story, single-family dwelling engulfed in flames and (fire) extending into the home. During extinguishment, firefighters located the body of the victim in the living room,” a MOSFM spokesman outlined.
Cecil County Department of Emergency Services paramedics pronounced Rowland dead shortly after firefighters discovered her body, fire officials reported. Rowland’s body was transported to the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death, according to fire officials.
The blaze destroyed the house and all property inside of it, translating to an estimated total loss of $100,000, fire officials said. MOSFM detectives “found no evidence of working smoke alarms” during their on-scene investigation, fire officials added.
As of Tuesday, MOSFM investigators were still trying to pinpoint where the fire started and determine what caused it, according to fire officials, who further reported that Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division detectives are assisting them in the investigation — which is standard operating procedure whenever a fatal fire occurs.