Woman, 66, killed in Charles County house fire

February 13, 2013

A 66-year-old woman is dead and her family is displaced following a house fire that gutted a home in rural Charles County late Tuesday, officials said.

Geraldine R. Key, 66, died when she was unable to escape from her bedroom in the home, in the 5300 block of Stuckey Road in Indian Head.

Officials said that Key’s family tried to help her, but they were forced out of the house by heavy smoke and flames. The remaining seven family members, including four adults and three children, escaped without injury.

Fire officials said that the fire broke out shortly after 10 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy fire coming from the back of the house, which was a one-story, cinder-block home with a partial living space in the attic. When a portion of the structure collapsed, firefighters were forced to battle the flames from outside.

One firefighter suffered a non-life threatening burn injury; he was treated at an area hospital and released, officials said.

Key’s body was recovered from the charred remains of the home and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Her body was sent to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

No other injuries were reported. Damage is estimated at about $80,000 and the home is uninhabitable. The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced family members.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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