CUMBERLAND — Terrence and Keren Thomas and their three children were left homeless late Wednesday when an apparent accidental fire damaged their 2 1/2-story residence at 7 Decatur St. just off Baltimore Avenue, Cumberland fire officials said.

A passerby discovered the blaze at about 10:35 p.m., and pounded at the front door to alert Keren Thomas, who quickly exited the property with her three children. Her husband Terrence was not at home at the time.

“The passerby saw fire at the roof line and in the attic at the rear of the property,” said Lt. Shannon Adams of the Cumberland Fire Department.

Adams remained at the scene late Thursday morning, continuing to investigate the cause and origin of the two-alarm fire fought by 18 city firefighters and seven allied volunteer fire departments from Allegany and Mineral counties.

“It’s still under investigation. But it started in the attic and it’s difficult to get to right now, and the roof is in bad shape so I have to be careful getting in there,” said Adams, who also serves as the city fire marshal.

Damage to the structure was estimated at $70,000, with a loss of $20,000 in contents. The property is insured, Adams said.

“Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the attic and roof area,” Adams said. “There was no smoke or fire damage to the first or second floors, just water damage.”

The Thomas family is reportedly being provided emergency assistance by family members.

The fire operation was directed by city fire department Capt. Chris Ratliff. The last unit left the scene at 4 a.m.

Volunteer fire departments assisting included LaVale, Bedford Road, Bowling Green, Cresaptown, Frostburg, Shaft, Ridgeley and Wiley Ford. Allegany County Department of Emergency Services crews also responded along with a DES supervisor.

Allegany County Fire Police directed traffic during the fire operation that included assistance at the scene by the Cumberland Police Department.

A city water department crew also responded along with Potomac Edison and Columbia Gas personnel.

One volunteer firefighter was injured during the overhaul work and was taken to UPMC Western Maryland for treatment of injury.

Minor damage also occurred to an adjoining property at 9 Decatur. Siding and windows were damaged by water.

Numerous off-duty city firefighters responded to the scene and for standby at central station. Volunteer departments were also alerted for standby during the incident.

Jeff Alderton is a veteran Cumberland Times-News police reporter. To reach him, call/text 304-639-6888, email jlalderton@times-news.com and follow him on Twitter.

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