STEVENSVILLE — Officials are crediting a working smoke detector with saving the lives of family of five on southern Kent Island early Saturday, Nov. 30.

United Communities Volunteer Fire Department was alerted for an automatic alarm about 1:30 a.m. on the 7700 block of Kent Point Road, UCVFD 2nd Capt. Scott Svoboda said. The automatic alarm was followed by one of residents also calling 911 to report the walls were “bubbling” and “hot to touch.”

Family members evacuated the two-story house safely and stationed themselves at various points along the long lane to help direct firefighters to the house, Svoboda said.

The first engine crew arrived, discovered fire in the walls of the house and upgraded the call to a full alarm, bringing Kent Island, Grasonville and Queenstown volunteer fire departments to assist, about 25 firefighters in all, Svoboda said. Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services also responded.

The active fire in the wall appeared to have originated from the fireplace area, and firefighters suspect the mortar in the chimney may have cracked, allowing the fire into the wall.

With United Communities Assistant Fire Chief Lenell Jones in command, firefighters contained the blaze and extinguished it swiftly. No injuries were reported.

“This could have been more serious, with loss of life and greater loss of property, without early activation of the smoke detector and the family acting appropriately to evacuate,” Svoboda said.

He urged local residents to make sure they have working smoke detectors in their homes.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms; the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in residences with working smoke alarms.

NFPA says smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, including the basement, and installed inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

According to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, the house is owned by Jason and Marilyn Smolen of Bethesda.

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