CUMBERLAND — The cause of Monday’s fire that claimed the life of an unidentified 71-year-old man on Bedford Road may have been the result of “smoking while on home oxygen,” according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The agency said late Monday its team of investigators has not yet determined the exact cause of the 5:49 a.m. fire that occurred in a single-story brick dwelling at 13729 Bedford Road.
The victim’s daughter attempted to extinguish the fire before she became overwhelmed by smoke pouring from the victim’s bedroom and was forced out of the structure, investigators said.
First-arriving Bedford Road firefighters attempted twice to enter the fire-engulfed building but were prevented by the heavy fire conditions, according to the fire marshal’s office.
The fire originated in the victim’s bedroom and was reportedly discovered by a neighbor of the property at about the same time that the victim’s daughter discovered the fire inside the home. Smoke detectors activated when the fire broke out, investigators said.
Autopsy results are being awaited from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore to determine positive identification of the victim and exact cause of death.
Fifty firefighters, including volunteer fire departments throughout the area and the Cumberland Fire Department responded to the scene where it took three hours to control the two-alarm fire.
The structure collapsed and excavators were utilized to remove debris in order to remove the victim, investigators said.
The investigation included assistance of the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division and the C3I Unit.