The Un-official Howard County Fire Blog

An un-official blog about recent happenings about the Howard County, Maryland, fire service.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Site Up and Running!

As you may have noticed, there are some big changes afoot!

In an effort to bring a larger array of tools to both you, the subscriber, and me, the author, I have switched from the Blogger platform to a WordPress powered website. In addition to a myriad of other options, this powerful, flexible platform can be scaled and adjusted on the fly, as the demand presents itself. The new site can be found at

I look forward to continuing to provide you with breaking news and information regarding the Howard County, Maryland, fire service.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, comments, or suggestions.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Howard County Stands Ready to Assist in Haiti

ELLICOTT CITY, MD - A message previously posted on the popular social networking site Facebook from Howard County Executive Ken Ulman regarding Howard County and its readiness to assist in Haiti.

Watching the coverage of the earthquake in Haiti and the devastation it wrought, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti as they struggle to recover from this terrible tragedy. Howard County, like the rest of America, stands with Haiti in the hour of its greatest need.

Many have asked me what they can do to provide assistance to the relief effort. There are several organizations that have already mobilized resources and are on the ground in Haiti right now. Below is a list of some of these organizations and links to ways you can support their critical work.

In addition, we are in immediate contact with state and federal authorities, and the County stands ready to help in whatever way we can.

Thank you for your time and attention to this very important matter.


Organizations involved in the earthquake relief effort:

American Red Cross: Donate online @ or by texting "HAITI" to "90999".
Doctors Without Borders
Partners in Health

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Barn Fire in Dayton

DAYTON, MD - A barn, reportedly housing livestock, has caught fire and burned down.

At approximately 8:45 PM, firefighters were summoned to the 14000 block of Howard Road for a reported barn fire. Firefighters arrived to find a small barn well involved in fire and nearly on the ground.

As this area does not have fire hydrants, firefighters used tankers to bring water to the scene. Personnel used a cistern at Dayton Oaks Elementary School to fill the tankers.

No injuries were reported, and no damage estimate is available. The blaze was brought under control in approximately twenty minutes. Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Townhouse Fire in High Ridge Displaces 2 Occupants

LAUREL, MD - Firefighters battled not only the bitter cold, but a townhouse blaze which displaced 2 occupants and dealt significant damage to the townhouse.

Shortly before 10 PM on Saturday, January 10, 2010, units from Howard, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties were dispatched to a reported chimney fire in the 9100 block of Tymat Court in the High Ridge section of North Laurel in Howard County.

Units arrived to find smoke showing from a 2 story townhouse, and declared a working fire. Firefighters deployed handlines and began attacking the fire, which was located on both the first and second floors.

Additional resources were summoned, and staged nearby. Some of them were used to supplement firefighters as they were rotated through the rehab sector, which allowed them to warm up and rest after the firefight.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in approximately 30 minutes.

Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported, and no damage estimate is available at this time.

Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photograph by Jim Codespote.
Photographs by, and courtesy of, Jim

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fire at Hammond High School

COLUMBIA, MD - A fire in the auditorium has left the school damaged.

At approximately 12:30 PM, firefighters were dispatched to Hammond High School, located in the 8800 block of Guilford Road, for a report of smoke in the cafeteria and auditorium. The first arriving unit arrived to find smoke showing from the side of the school. An investigation revealed a large amount of smoke in the auditorium, and a fire was quickly located and extinguished. Fire sprinklers inside the school prevented the fire from spreading. This incident, among countless others, serves to underscore the need for fire sprinklers in all facilities.

Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause. No injuries were reported, and no damage estimate is available.

UPDATE: Other sources are reporting that Howard County fire investigators have determined that the fire was intentionally set. Investigators are actively working with Howard County Police to bring the responsible party to justice. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Howard County Police.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Apartment Building Fire in Columbia

COLUMBIA, MD - A two alarm fire at the Kendall Ridge Apartments has displaced several people.

At approximately 10:15 PM, firefighters were summoned to a reported building fire in the 8900 block of Tamar Drive in Columbia. Units arrived to find a fire on the second floor in the rear of the building, with the fire leaping to the third floor. Additional units were summoned on the second alarm.

One civilian was evaluated for a possible asthma attack; however, the civilian was not transported. As many as thirty (30) civilians may be displaced from this fire; American Red Cross is working with those displaced to find them alternative housing accommodations at this time.

No other injuries were reported, and fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the blaze. No damage estimate is available.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

House Fire Injures One Firefighter

CLARKSVILLE, MD - A fall has seriously injured a firefighter who was pumping a fire engine on a large fire in Clarksville.

Shortly after 4:15 in the morning, firefighters were summoned to the 6400 block of Richardson's Farm Lane (formerly known as Prestwick Drive) in Clarksville for a reported house fire. Firefighters quickly arrived to find a single family house with fire showing, and additional alarms were requested.

In the initial stages of the incident, the driver of one of the fire engines sustained a fall and a resulting injury. Due to the severity of the injury, a Maryland State Police medevac helicopter was requested to transport the firefighter to a trauma center. The helicopter landed at a nearby church.

Firefighters employed water tanker shuttles due to a lack of fire hydrants in the area. Aerial ladders, master streams and large volume hoses were also used to fight the fire.

Personnel from Howard, Prince George's, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties worked together to fight the blaze. Additional firefighters and apparatus were brought in to fill the empty firehouses.

Several support agencies were summoned, to include Howard County Highways for salt trucks, BGE for gas an electric utilities control, and Howard County Police for traffic control. Firefighters cleared the house after close to 12 hours on the scene.

Our thoughts are with the injured firefighter and his family.

Photo courtesy of Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department.
Photos provided courtesy of the Laytonsville District Volunteer Fire Department.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kitchen Fire and Water Main Break in Columbia

COLUMBIA, MD - Firefighters responded to a kitchen fire in the 5900 block of Rosinante Run in Columbia. The fire was quickly brought under control, and the incident was scaled back.

Shortly before units were released, Battalion Chief 2 advised of a water main break in the immediate break; however, this is not believed to have impacted firefighting efforts. Howard County Utilities were requested to deal with the water main break, and a salt truck was requested from Highways due to sub-freezing weather conditions.

As the fire situation stabilized, the water main break worsened. Shortly after being discovered, the water escaping from the main began to flood a house adjacent to the fire. Firefighters who were not committed to the fire worked to divert the water away from the house, lessening the potential for water damage.

The fire has been determined to be accidental in nature due to cooking.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Serious Crash in North Laurel Leaves One With Critical Injuries

LAUREL, MD - A crash in the Savage/North Laurel area has left one person with critical injuries.

At approximately 8 PM on Wednesday, December 30, 2009, units were dispatched to the intersection of Gorman Road and Skylark Boulevard for a crash with unknown injuries. As units were responding, additional information came from police units on the scene advising that the vehicle's occupant was trapped. This update brought additional resources to the scene.

The first arriving unit found a single vehicle overturned into the woods. A single occupant of the vehicle was entrapped and suffering from serious injuries. Due to the serious nature of the injuries, a State Police medevac helicopter was requested.

Firefighters freed the occupant in approximately 15 minutes, and paramedics worked to stabilize the patient. Unfortunately, as medical providers were moving to the helicopter's landing zone, the patient's condition deteriorated, necessitating that paramedics transport the patient to the closest hospital by ground. The helicopter was not used for patient transport.

Howard County Police Traffic Enforcement Section are investigating the crash.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Basement Fire in Mount Airy

MT. AIRY, MD - A basement fire has damaged a Mount Airy house.

At approximately 3 PM, units were dispatched to a reported house fire in the 17400 block of Frederick Road. Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke showing from the house, and initiated an interior attack. The fire was knocked in approximately 15 minutes. No injuries were reported, and Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the blaze.

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Small Barn Fire in Woodbine

WOODBINE, MD - A small barn fire housing machinery burned, and fire investigators are working to determine the cause.

At approximately 2 PM, units were dispatched to a reported barn fire in the 2800 block of Duvall Road in Woodbine. Firefighters arrived to find a small shed or barn well involved in fire; the fire was declared under control in approximately ten minutes.

No injuries were reported, and Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Engines and Tankers Assist on Montgomery County House Fire

BROOKEVILLE, MD - Several Howard County units have been called to assist Montgomery County Fire & Rescue on a working house fire in the Laytonsville area of the county at approximately 9:45 this morning.

Tanker 5 was dispatched on the initial box alarm; Tankers 11 and 3, as well as Engine 44 (an engine-tanker), were alerted on the water supply task force. Engines 51 and 32 also responded to assist the Montgomery County units.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Turkey Fryer Malfunction in North Laurel

LAUREL, MD - Firefighters responded to a turkey fryer malfunction in North Laurel today. While this was not a working incident, it does serve to show the potential hazards of turkey fryers, and provides us the opportunity to pass on some safety tips for working with them.

Thanks to the Underwriter Laboratories for these tips.

Turkey fryer hazards

* Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.
* If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
* Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
* With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
* The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Important safety information

If you absolutely must use a turkey fryer, please use the following tips.

* Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
* Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
* Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
* Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
* Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
* To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
* Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
* Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
* The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
* Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.

Thanks to the Underwriters Laboratories for these many good tips for turkey fryer safety.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Massive Snow Storm Leaves Over a Foot of Snow in the County

COLUMBIA, MD - A significant snow storm has left over a foot of snow in the County. Some areas have actually had closer to two feet of snow (Columbia is reported to have had 23 inches).

Howard County Fire & Rescue upstaffed apparatus, as well as utilizing station utility trucks (4x4 pickup trucks usually used for errands) to assit with mitigating emergencies. These utility trucks were essential in gaining prompt access to situations where regular fire apparatus could not fit due to snow.

While firefighters responded to a great deal of motor vehicle crashes, none were serious; most were vehicles that had been disabled by the volume of snow. Vehicles that had been checked by firefighters were marked with yellow fire line tape. Citizens are asked to look for the yellow fire lane tape; if they see this tape, then the situation has already been handled. As such, there is no need for 9-1-1 to be contacted again unless circumstances have changed.

Citizens are also asked to assist firefighters by digging out their local fire hydrants (or, as the case may be, cisterns or underground tanks) when they shovel their driveway and/or sidewalk. This small investment of time will assist firefighters by saving time in the event of a fire.

Howard County's Bureau of Highways offers the following tips:

The Bureau of Highways reminds drivers not to park on streets, especially on a cul-de-sac as that makes snow removal nearly impossible for highway crews. Vehicles should be parked in driveways. This allows police officers, firefighters, and paramedics to respond quickly to public safety tasks while driving in treacherous conditions and leads to quick and complete clearing of the roads. Residents may also want to delay shoveling driveway aprons and sidewalks until the street has been completely cleared. Otherwise, it is very likely a full blade of snow will slide off the plow onto the driveway.

Citizens were also encouraged to stay off the roads, as snow conditions were extremely heavy. Snow often accumulated shortly after being plowed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

House Fire in Lisbon

MT AIRY, MD - Firefighters are battling a house fire in Howard County's western end.

At approximately 1:15 PM, firefighters were dispatched for a reported house fire in the 900 block of Ridge Road in the Mount Airy area of Howard County. Units arrived to find fire showing from a single family house, and began an interior attack. However, deteriorating conditions and water supply issues forced firefighters to evacuate the house. Additional tankers were requested from the surrounding areas.

Howard County units are being assisted by firefighters from Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties. No injuries have been reported at this time, and no damage estimate was available.Howard County fire investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. The residents, as well as their dogs, were displaced by the fire.

Battalion Chief 2 held the Ridge Road Command, and was assisted by command staff from Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick counties.

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Fire at the Elkridge McDonald's Sends One to Shock Trauma

ELKRIDGE, MD - A grill fire at the Elkridge McDonald's restaurant has left the building charred and damaged as fire investigators work to determine the cause of an early morning blaze.

Firefighters were summoned to the restaurant at approximately 5:45 in the morning of Thursday, December 17, 2009, and arrived to find smoke showing from the building. Due to the lightweight construction of the building and the conditions encountered, firefighters initiated a defensive operation. After a few minutes, a change in the conditions allowed for an offensive attack. Upon entering the building, firefighters encountered fire in the center of the building.

Paramedics transported 1 civilian patient as a priority 2 (serious) to Shock Trauma for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation by Howard County fire investigators. The fire, which closed Route 1, took approximately 75 minutes to extinguish, and required firefighters from Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties to extinguish. No damage estimate was available.

Battalion Chief 1 had the Elkridge command; Battalion Chief 2 had the fire attack group. Additional command staff assisted at the fireground, including Unit 301 and Unit 330.

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