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Family escapes from burning home in Harford County

Posted at 3:41 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 17:37:12-04

STREET, Md. — He works on the front lines, but Paramedic Shawn Salerno had just returned from taking time out for a family vacation in Ocean City when fire erupted at his new home on Hollands Branch Court in Street, Maryland.

“We’re sitting in the kitchen and we heard a crackling noise and we looked towards the garage door and smoke was coming out the top of the door and the ceiling so I opened the door and there was just complete flames so I shut the door and told the kids, my wife and the dog to get out,” recalled Salerno.

Salerno called 911 and then grabbed a water hose and tried to douse the flames by himself to no avail.

It would ultimately take 75 firefighters two hours to put it out, and investigators know little about how it started except to say its origin was somewhere in the garage.

“Within a garage, you typically have your automobiles, your cars, your vehicles. A lot of flammable liquids are stored there,” said Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire. “I know they had recently moved into the house. I don’t know how much combustible materials---boxes and moving may have actually been in place in that garage, but certainly we have a lot of fire load and typically within these garages, it’s a fast moving, fast developing fire.”

With two small children and another on the way, the Salerno family is now left salvaging what’s left of their belongings and preparing for the months it will take to rebuild, all while balancing their essential jobs in the midst of a pandemic.

“She works in healthcare. Cigna. Luckily, it’s at home so she doesn’t have to deal with the to and fro. My works been very understanding. They reached out to me,” said Salerno. “I had a lot of people reaching out to me as the fire was going on so they’ve been amazing and we’ve had a lot of support from family and friends so it’s been good.”

Fire investigators have estimated the damage to the structure at $575,000 and the contents at another $250,000.