26 residents displaced, multiple townhouses condemned after explosion, fire in Aberdeen
BALTIMORE-- Twenty-six residents were displaced and multiple townhouses were condemned after a fire ripped through a community Saturday night in Aberdeen.
Some of those townhomes, in the 4700 block of Witchhazel Way, collapsed because of the fire, according to fire officials.
More than 70 firefighters responded to the fire around 10:30 p.m.
Harford County fire officials shared a doorbell camera video showing one of several explosions during the two-alarm fire.
"It was like a big bang. I thought it was a gunshot," neighbor Rachel Dunn said.
It took 70 firefighters about two hours to control. One firefighter was treated at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
"This is really devastating," neighbor Michael Williams said.
The fire caused three of the homes to collapse, with the others sustaining extensive fire, soot and water damage, according to investigators.
"We had called 911 and the dispatcher actually told me somebody called and said there was a fire right across the street. That's when I looked out the window and noticed everything.," Dunn said. "They said that another 15 minutes of this side burning, this whole side would have caught fire too."
Fire officials said the intense heat from the fire also caused extensive heat-related damage to multiple other nearby homes.
Investigators said the fire originated within the rear area of one of the middle units.
The fire marshal is searching for the cause, but neighbors believe they know how it started.
"Someone said it started from a car. Now that's just speculation," Williams said.
With the assistance of the Harford County Roads Department, firefighters used heavy equipment to remove debris and vehicles that were destroyed by the fire.
BGE crews disconnected the electricity and gas, and Harford County Building and Inspections condemned the block of the homes that were affected.
Preliminary estimates for property loss are valued at $5 million.
Officials said there were no injuries.
"Houses can be repaired. Houses can be fixed, but lives you can't get a new one of those," neighbor Ian Wingfield said.
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