A homeowner suspects an appliance family members were using in the garage in the blaze that engulfed and destroyed his Aspen Hill house on Monday.
A Montgomery County, Md., home caught fire Monday morning as the family was using a dehydrator to dry food.
Seven people inside the house in the 12300 block of Charles Road when the fire broke out all escaped just moments before the wood frame structure was fully engulfed in flames, sending black smoke billowing skyward through the Aspen Hill neighborhood.
A neighbor walking his dog ran inside to call 911.
“I saw white smoke,” Danilo Luces said. “I panicked and ran inside my house. I take my dog inside because the smoke is really big already."
The heat was so intense it melted the plastic siding of neighboring homes on both sides.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue dispatched 65 firefighters to battle the blaze.
The owner of the house was at his construction job when he was called by his stepdaughter and told about the fire. He said the family was using a dehydrator in the garage to dry food. It was left unattended for about five or 10 minutes when the fire started.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue estimated the damage at $690,000. Investigators have ruled the fire accidental.
The family lived in the house for 13 years and hopes to rebuild.