Maryland State Fire Marshal

Martin O’Malley Governor

News Release
William E. Barnard State Fire Marshal

CHARLES COUNTY (February 13, 2013) – A team of investigators with the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has determined the cause of the accidental fire that took the life of sixty-six year-old Geraldine R. Key and the family dog last night at 5315 Stuckey Road in Indian Head, Maryland. The 10:17 p.m. fire began in the victim’s first floor bedroom of the one and a half story single family dwelling when combustible items came into contact with an operating kerosene heater. Investigators determined the victim was not able to escape the effects of the fire and family members’ efforts to enter the bedroom were obstructed by the excessive heat and smoke. Seven family members, 3 adults and 4 children, escaped the blaze and notified 911. The smoke alarm located outside the bedroom activated when the family opened the door to attempt entry into the room. First arriving crews from Marbury, Bryans Road, Potomac Heights, Nanjemoy, Bel Alton and Stump Neck Naval Station Fire Departments found heavy fire consuming the entire dwelling upon arrival and were not able to make entry inside the dwelling. One firefighter was transported to the Washington Hospital Burn Center and was released after treatment of 2nd degree burns to his right wrist and arm. A male family member arriving after the incident, experienced chest pains and was subsequently transported to a local hospital for evaluation. The preliminary report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reveals the victim succumbed to smoke inhalation and thermal burn injuries received during the blaze. Damages to the home are estimated at $80,000.

### Media contact: Bruce D. Bouch, Deputy State Fire Marshal; 443-324-6876
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering. For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: and/or
1201 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208

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