The fire at the home in the 1300 block of Marigold Court started around 9:26 a.m. Wednesday when a power strip in the garage became overloaded, according to the fire marshal's report.
The homeowner said his wife "came downstairs and told me the garage was on fire," according to ABC 2 News.
After noticing smoke, the residents tried to put the fire out with fire extinguishers and a garden hose but were unsuccessful, the fire marshal said.
"They made a valiant attempt to extinguish the fire," Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire said. He added that fire doubles in size every 30 seconds, and said the fire marshal's office advises people to have fire escape plans so they can exit quickly.
The owner helped his wife, their twin 4-year-old daughters and his mother-in-law get to safety, ABC 2 News reported.
The residents called 911 to report the fire, Alkire said, and approximately 45 firefighters responded to the blaze—which engulfed the two-story home, sending up a column of smoke.
Crews from Abingdon, Bel Air, Joppa-Magnolia, APG and the Susquehanna Hose Company responded, the fire marshal said, and had the blaze under control within 15 minutes.
Firefighters had to combat the blaze defensively due to the "advanced fire conditions," using handheld hoses and an aerial device atop a fire truck, according to Abingdon Fire Company. Due to the extremely cold temperatures—it was below freezing Wednesday in Riverside—the Harford County Hazmat Response Team also provided firefighters with a warming center, Abingdon Fire Company reported.
There was $250,000 in structural damage and $50,000 in damage to items inside the home, according to the fire marshal's report.
The home was considered a total loss, Alkire said.
Residents concerned about their power strips should do the following, according to the fire marshal:
- Never plug an extension cord into a power strip.
- Uncoil the power strip cord completely.
- Never place anything on top of extension cords or power strips.
- Follow manufacturers' recommendations.
Black Smoke Plumes Over Riverside House Fire
Riverside Fire Victims Need Help