A woman and a baby girl were found dead after a fire in Waldorf, Maryland, officials said, after reports of an assault and arguing in a home.
The fire broke out about 10:30 p.m. Thursday at a two-story home on Heathcote Road, just off Huntington Circle, Diane Richardson, a spokesperson for the Charles County Sheriff’s office, said.
Neighbors called 911 and reported three men fighting outside the house.
Shortly before the blaze, a neighbor heard adults arguing and children crying.
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“They were just fussing among each other,” said neighbor Sylvia Toms. She never expected what came next. “The children started crying, ‘Get out, get out.’”
Toms said she went outside and saw the blaze. It didn’t take long for fire to engulf the townhouse, she said.
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The Charles County Sheriff’s office said officers responded to the report of a fire and assault.
Firefighters found the home completely engulfed in flames, the sheriff’s office said.
Once the blaze was out, firefighters found the woman and infant, who were dead, the sheriff’s office said. Their names were not immediately released.
“We don’t know if they died as a result of the fire or something else,” Richardson said.
Investigators are looking into the possibility the fire and fight are related but have no labeled the fire suspicious, and the woman’s and infant’s causes of death will be determined by the medical examiner.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is helping investigate how the blaze began.
Images from the scene show part of the roof blackened and melting siding peeling away near upstairs windows.
Homeowners Cathy and David Staples visited the house on Friday to see the damage for themselves. They said they had just rented the property to a woman in January. The Staples fought tears as they spoke about what happened.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Cathy Staples said.