CATONSVILLE, Md. — Out for a morning spin, Chantell Darley and her boyfriend, Larry Washington, raced back to their home in the 5400 block of Edmondson Avenue and found fire engines blocking their path.
"My neighbor said... he called and he said, 'Your house is on fire!',” recalled Darley, “and I zoomed up here, because I was right down on... What is the street down here?... and I just saw all of the fire department and everybody, and I don't know how it happened. I don't know how it happened."
Firefighters arriving on the scene soon learned the two-story house contained multiple apartments.
"It came in as a house fire. Unit arrived with fire showing. There were some reports that there could be some people trapped,” said Battalion Chief Charles Tudor of the Baltimore County Fire Department, “We upgraded to a fire/rescue assignment. Fortunately, nobody was hurt or trapped."
Thanks in large part to a total stranger.
Residents say a man heading to a nearby gym spotted the fire and ran from door-to-door banging loudly and sounding the alarm that the house was on fire and for people to get out.
It appears the fire started in Darley and Washington’s unit leaving them perplexed over what could have started it.
"It's got to be electrical wiring, because everything was cut off," said Washington.
"Everything was off," added Darley.
"No heat was on."
"We don't use candles,” continued Darley, “We had just left, and nothing was on. Nothing was on. I cut the TV off and that was it. I had cut the TV off. That was it."
While the couple is relieved no one was hurt, the flames gutted their unit leaving them with little more than the clothing they were wearing as they waited for whatever assistance the Red Cross could provide.
"Everything is destroyed. We don't have anything," said Washington.
"Everything is gone,” added Darley, “Everything is gone. Everything is gone."
"We have our life,” responded Washington, “That's the most important thing. We have our life."