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Two-alarm fire damages house on Emory Circle

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STEVENSVILLE — A two-alarm fire did more than $300,000 in damage to a house in the Claiborne’s Landing community in Stevensville early Thursday, Nov. 21.

The 911 center received multiple calls reporting a fire at 101 Emory Circle just after 6 a.m. United Communities Volunteer Fire Department 2nd Capt. Scott Svoboda had left for work and already was driving up state Route 8 when the call was dispatched at 6:06 a.m.

Svoboda said he arrived on the scene within two minutes to find heavy fire extending through the roof and half of the one-story, wood-frame, single-family rancher involved. The house wasn’t the usual rectangular rancher; he described it as boomerang-shaped with an extended floor plan.

Based on the extent of the fire, Svoboda, who served as incident commander, called for a second alarm, bringing in resources from surrounding fire departments.

Twenty-four pieces of equipment and 58 firefighters and emergency medical personnel responded, Svoboda said. They came from United Communities VFD, Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department, Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department, Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services, Cape St. Claire Volunteer Fire Department, West Annapolis Volunteer Fire Department, the Naval Academy Fire Department and Annapolis City Fire Department.

Firefighters did not know if anyone was home when they arrived, so they did attempt search and rescue in the house where it was tenable, Svoboda said. A partial roof collapse meant they couldn’t search part of the building.

About 20 minutes into the fire, they learned from neighbors and family members that no one was home, Svoboda said. No injuries were reported, either civilian or firefighter.

He said there were working smoke detectors in the house that were sounding.

While there are no fire hydrants in that area, they had adequate water to fight the fire throughout the event thanks to a tanker brigade, he said.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire and save the left section of the house and garages, but the right side, where the fire started, was destroyed.

It took firefighters an hour to control the blaze and three more hours to overhaul the scene, checking for fire extensions and extinguishing hotspots. The last unit cleared the scene at 10:19 a.m., he said.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire, which investigators said started in the rear interior of the residence. The cause has not been determined. Damages were estimated at $300,000 for the structure and $25,000 for the contents.

The house is owned by Oswaldo Garcia, who bought it in September 2018, according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. It lists the home as his principal residence.

Anyone with information on the fire is asked to contact the Upper Shore Regional Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal at 410-8227609.

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