Fire ripped through a house off Hawks Hill Lane near Dargan Friday afternoon, leaving little standing but the brick chimney.
The fire at the two-story house at 3310 Hawks Hill Lane was called in at 3:26 p.m., a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher said.
Firefighters from the Potomac Valley Volunteer Fire Co. were joined by units from Boonsboro, Sharpsburg and the Washington County Emergency Services Special Operations Unit in fighting the blaze.
Incident commander Arnold Martin of Potomac Valley said the house was not fully engulfed in flames when the first units arrived, but the narrow roads leading to the house and winds contributed to the rapid spread of the flames.
"We couldn't pass anybody. Everyone had to come in the same way," Martin said. The roads were too narrow for fire engines to pull over and let other equipment through, he said.
No one was home at the time of the fire and the cause was not known, Martin said. The owners were notified and came to the scene, he said.
Tankers were hauling water in to fight the fire in a remote, wooded area down a long private lane. Tankers from Middletown and Shepherdstown, W.Va., were among the dozen or more emergency vehicles on site.
Most of the roof had collapsed and flames could still be seen at 5 p.m. Firefighters were using hooks to pull down smoldering parts of the house and the area was still enveloped in smoke.
Along with the chimney, the brickwork of the garage was still standing. A vehicle inside was burning and Martin said there were concerns it might explode.
Martin said that portable lights would be brought in to help firefighters continue to work into the evening.