NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Names of victims killed in fatal Severn group home fire released

Posted at 4:21 PM, Apr 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-23 18:40:09-04

Tandrea Humphrey was just inside the home. She remembers vividly because of her working relationship with her client, William Garcia – her friend.


“He was very vibrant. He loved to walk to CVS. He was very independent. He loved to volunteer for people in the community – especially the elderly at ‘Sarah’s House’ up the street,” she said.


Tandrea stood in the yard of the now burned down home on Stone Hearth’s Road.


In tears, she laid a bouquet of flowers onto the growing memorial, said a prayer and walked away.


She’d help William cope with his obsessive-compulsive disorder. She’d known him for two years, and she started to envision where his life was going.


Then Saturday night happened.


Anne Arundel County Fire investigators say they got a call around 10:45 p.m. of an explosion and a fire coming from the home.


RELATED: Three killed in Severn fire overnight


William had lived inside with five other men, part of a group home being run being the non-profit, Arundel Lodge.


“When I’d visit him, they would all be in the house together laughing and cooking and enjoying each other’s company,” Tandrea said.


Four of the men were able to get out.


But not William, nor his roommate 61-year-old Walter McCardell, or 65-year-old Barbara Brown, who’d been working there at the time.


Investigators determined Brown died trying to get the victims out of the home.


“It’s their opinion that she was attempting to evacuate one of the victims when she succumbed to the smoke,” Capt. Russ Davies said.


A heroic effort cut short by fire.


“I couldn’t work today. I had to take off and pay my respects. I called his mom and I told her that if she needed anything, on behalf of my agency, I’d get it for her,” Tandrea said as tears rolled down her cheeks.


Anne Arundel County Fire still isn’t sure how or where the fire started.

Arundel Lodge said in a statement four of the men who were in the home were displaced and are now staying in a temporary home.


The non-profit is looking to rebuild the home in Severn and it’s asking anyone who can help them financially to reach out.


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