Updated: Rodent Blamed for Stevensville Fatal Fire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Rodent Blamed for Stevensville Fatal Fire

Posted: Updated:

STEVENSVILLE, Md.- Investigators say a rodent chewing on electrical wires is to blame for an early March fire that claimed the life of a 77-year-old Stevensville man. 

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire was reported shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, March 7 by a neighbor on the 500 block of Romancoke Road in Stevensville. The one alarm fire brought 30 firefighters from the Kent Island and surrounding fire departments and took 10 minutes to bring under control, authorities said. 

Deputy state fire marshals said that during the initial fire department entry, crews located and removed Bjorn Pederson and transported him to University of Maryland Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown where he was pronounced deceased. 

Investigators said they determined the fire originated in the first floor ceiling between the ceiling and the second floor joist space. They said evidence revealed a rodent had entered the joist space and chewed on wiring, which allowed electrical arcing to ignite combustibles.  

The fire reportedly caused an estimated $40,000 in damage to the structure and contents of the home. Investigators said they determined no working smoke alarms were present in the home at the time of the blaze.

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