PASADENA, Md. — The instructions from the 911 operator to a woman trapped inside the bathroom of a burning home were clear---close the door and try to open a window.
But as flames spread and thick smoke filled the home on Thomas Road near Fort Smallwood Park, time ran out for both the woman and her husband who firefighters discovered in a nearby bedroom.
“They immediately made entry to affect a rescue of the two trapped occupants who were moved outside and turned over to awaiting paramedics,” said Anne Arundel County Fire Battalion Chief Russ Davies, “Unfortunately, in this situation, the paramedics where not successful to resuscitate them and both occupants, a male and a female, estimated to be in their seventies, were declared deceased on the scene.”
The victims have now been identified as 74-year-old Patsie Griffin and her husband, James, 79.
Investigators believe the fire started near a stove, although it remains unclear whether anyone was cooking at the time or had just left it on.
“It appears that the fire started in the kitchen area and it is accidental in nature,” added Davies.
Police say one of Griffin's sons lived with them, but was at work at the time of the fire.
They are the first fire fatalities in Anne Arundel County in 2021.
Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries and were taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center.