DUNDALK, Md. - At the fire's peak, flames had spread to three rowhouses on Highshire Court in Dundalk, and Brett Shepherd was awakened by the sound of scrambling victims outside the fourth.
"I was lying in bed. I didn't have a good night sleeping and about 10:30 or so, I heard people yelling and I thought there was a fight outside or something," said Shepherd.
Firefighters responding to the 911 call on Sunday morning had little warning of the fire's magnitude.
"It was reported that a couch was on fire,” said Capt. Tim Rostkowski of the Baltimore County Fire Department, “I'm not sure what ignited that or what started that."
What became immediately clear is that more firefighters would be needed.
The end unit where it appears the fire started in the basement was fully-involved and the flames had jumped along the back of the group to two additional rowhomes.
Fortunately, all of the people living inside those homes had already made it out by the time engines arrived.
"There's four people there, the house next to it is two and then there's four next to me, so we're all real lucky," said Shepherd.
While the fire went to three alarms and it required dozens of firefighters to put it out, with one lone exception, everyone escaped unharmed.
"Only one injury was reported,” said Rostkowski, “It was kind of reported late. An occupant inside the home at the time that the house caught on fire had a minor burn to his hand. He was an adult male that was transported to the burn center with a minor, non-life-threatening injury."