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UPDATE: Fire Spokesman: No One Home in Derwood House Fire

Assistant Chief Graham: Family was out-of-town; arson remains in play.

Firefighters weighed the risks before entering a Derwood home to fight a fire early Saturday morning, a fire and rescue service spokesman said Tuesday. 

A of the home in the 6000 block of Muncaster Mill Road.

“It was purely accidental,” Assistant Chief Scott Graham said. The ranch-style home was “dark and smoky” and the firefighter stepped around a barrier and into a hole in the first floor that had been marked, Graham said.

The firefighter was treated and released from a hospital on Saturday and is receiving “orthopedic-related” follow-up treatment, Graham said.

No one was in the home at the time of the fire. The family that lives there was out-of-town, Graham said. Dispatchers watching traffic cameras noticed that smoke appeared to be coming from the home about 5:30 a.m.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Investigators brought in a K-9 from Howard County trained to detect the presence of accelerants used in arson fires.

The dog “alerted,” Graham said. “We can’t say if there was an accelerant but it leads us to ask more questions.”

The early hour and the fact that vehicles were in the driveway led firefighters to believe that there were occupants in the home, Graham said. That led to the decision to have firefighters enter, he said.

“There’s an adage in the fire service that you risk a life to save a life and risk no life to save none,” Graham said.

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