Human remains found at site of fire near Cearfoss

Investigators were inspecting the scene at 15219 Fairview Road

June 07, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • A person scans the wreckage Tuesday of a house fire that occurred May 27. A body was found in the structure Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CEARFOSS — An investigation into the cause of a May 27 fire at a house on Fairview Road took an unexpected turn Tuesday when investigators found human remains in the ruins, according to a spokesman for the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office.

Investigators from the state fire marshal's office and an insurance company were removing debris at the scene when they found the human remains at about noon, according to a news release from the state fire marshal's office.

Bruce Bouch of the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office could not say what kind of human remains were found or where they were discovered.

The remains were collected and transported to the medical examiner's office for forensic examination to determine the identity of the person and the cause of death, the release said.

Bouch said it could take a long time to determine the person's identity and it will be up to the medical examiner's office to determine whether DNA analysis will be needed.

Maugansville Fire Chief William Garrett said previously that the house at 15219 Fairview Road was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 5:10 a.m. May 27.

The roof and the second floor ended up in the basement in a pile following the blaze, Garrett said.

Garrett said when firefighters arrived, they thought someone was inside the burning house, but later learned the person who lived there was not home.

Robin McMullen, who leased the house, told authorities that no one should have been in the home when it burned, Bouch said. McMullen was in Iowa for a training class when the fire occurred, Bouch said.

Don Spickler of Williamsport, who owned the house, said Tuesday that McMullen has returned from her trip.

Asked if anyone else might have been staying or living in the house, Spickler said that question would have to be asked of the tenant.

Bouch said it's anyone's guess who the dead person might be.

It could have been a homeless person that got into the house or someone who stopped by to offer aid the night of the fire, Bouch said.

"Any possible scenario is (possible) at this point," Bouch said.

 Investigators were working to determine the cause of the fire Tuesday when the human remains were found.

"This sort of stalled that process. We've got our work cut out for us," Bouch said.

A group of officials from the Maryland State Police and the state fire marshal's office were at the scene late Tuesday afternoon.

Spickler said previously that the house was first owned by the Shank family in 1895, but Spickler said his great-grandfather married into that family in 1897.

Staff writer Don Aines contributed to this story.

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