EARLEVILLE — An investigation is continuing after a blaze ripped through a home in Earleville over the Labor Day weekend, sending one man to a regional hospital by helicopter after he suffered non-life-threatening burns and displacing the two occupants, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
One of the homeowners called 911 at 12:01 p.m., prompting approximately 75 firefighters with nine volunteer fire companies from Cecil County, Kent County and Delaware to respond to the 200 block of Edgewater Drive in Bay View Estates, a community adjacent to the Elk River, fire officials said. Cecilton Volunteer Fire Co. served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.
"It was pretty much fully involved (when first responders arrived)," CVFC Deputy Chief Jason Reamy told the Cecil Whig.
MOSFM officials identified John and Carol Cronin as the owners/occupants of the two-story house, which was gutted by the fire.
The blaze caused an estimated $275,000 in structural damage and destroyed approximately $100,000 of the couple's belongings, according to fire officials. Family members are assisting the displaced couple, fire officials reported.
On Sunday, shortly after the fire, Reamy reported that the preliminary cause of the blaze appeared to be a lawnmower that experienced a mechanical issue.
The man who lives at that residence had returned the lawnmower to the attached garage, after cutting the grass, and the mower burst into flames a short time later and the flames spread to the house, Reamy outlined.
"The lawnmower had some sort of mechanical issue. The homeowner tried to put out the fire with a garden hose. He suffered burns to his hands and his legs while doing that. I believe he suffered burns to less than 9% of his body," Reamy said.
A Maryland State Police helicopter flew the man from the scene to the Bayview Burn Center in Baltimore, according to MOSFM officials.
Two firefighters — one with Millington Volunteer Fire Co. in Kent County, the other with Middletown Volunteer Fire Co. in Delaware — received medical evaluations at the scene, but they did not need to be transported to the hospital, Reamy reported.
"It was for heat and exhaustion," Reamy explained.
With the rising temperatures in the low 80s, firefighters battled the blaze for approximately two hours before bringing it under control, fire officials said.
Firefighters drafted water from the nearby Elk River, which is across the street from the home, for their water supply, which was supplemented by several tankers, according to Reamy.
MOSFM investigators determined that the blaze started inside the detached garage, fire officials said. However, as of Monday, the official cause of the fire remained under investigation, fire officials added.