Cumberland Times-News

November 14, 2013

Smoke alarms alert Oakland family to fire

Total loss estimated at $395,000

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND — A sleeping Oakland family escaped a raging fire that destroyed its residence early Thursday — thanks to blaring smoke alarms set off by the predawn blaze.

First-arriving firefighters from the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department found the two-story log structure at 161 Edens Ridge Road engulfed in flames.

Thirty volunteer firefighters responding to the incident were alerted at 4:33 a.m. after the homeowner discovered the fire and called 911.

Scott and Annalea Catulle and their two children, approximately 8 and 10 years old, escaped the fire and were not injured.

“The family of two adults and two children was awakened by working smoke detectors that allowed them to escape safely. Thank goodness,” said Deer Park Fire Chief Ken Collins, one of the first volunteers at the scene.

The property loss was estimated at $270,000 to the two-story log residence and $125,000 in contents, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Investigation at the scene by Deputy Fire Marshal K. Nieberlein determined the fire was caused by ashes placed outside Wednesday after the homeowner had cleaned the wood stove.

The ashes ignited the exterior front side of the structure before the fire spread through the residence and extended to an adjacent garage.

Fanned by sustained winds of 10 to 15 mph and wind gusts up to 25 mph, the fire consumed the dwelling and the garage. Two vehicles parked inside the garage were destroyed and a third vehicle parked outside the residence was heavily damaged.

Deer Park, Oakland, Deep Creek, Gorman and Terra Alta fire departments responded along with Southern Garrett Rescue Squad. They were alerted by Garrett County 911 center.

The Catulle family was reportedly being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Collins said the property was insured.

The Garrett County Roads Department also responded, according to the 911 center.

Collins stressed the value of working smoke alarms. “Make sure your smoke alarms work. You should have changed the batteries with the recent time change. These four people escaped this fire because of their smoke alarms,” he said.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at jlalderton@times-news.com.