Police on Thursday afternoon identified the man who died in a Wolfsville house fire Wednesday night.

Frederick Casper Geiger Jr., 82, was pulled from the burning building in the 10800 block of Gambrill Park Road, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters searched the home in high heat with limited visibility for the trapped occupant, FCSO spokesman Todd Wivell said. First responders removed him from the laundry room on the first floor and tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.

Firefighters were dispatched at 6:56 p.m. after Geiger called 911. The first fire department unit arrived at 7:07 p.m., according to Wivell, and the first fire engine got there at 7:10 p.m. Deputies arrived at about 7:30 p.m. to find Geiger deceased.

An autopsy will be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

A cat also perished in the fire, Wivell said.

There were no injuries to firefighters.

Snow and ice covering the driveway made access challenging for the initial fire apparatus, according to Wivell. Firefighters relied on tankers of water hauled to the scene, as there weren’t fire hydrants nearby. Ponds in the area were difficult to access due to ice.

FCSO and the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services are investigating the fire and death. Wivell said there have been no signs of foul play. The home contained working smoke detectors.

On Thursday morning, fire marshals hauled debris outside the blackened log cabin full of broken windows.

Charred pieces of wood, an upside down couch and what looked to be pieces of metal grew in a pile in front of the home around 9 a.m. Thursday. The air still smelled of smoke.

The residence sits at the end of a gravel driveway surrounded by a shallow layer of snow and tall, thin trees. The road to the burned cabin, coming from Thurmont, twists through Catoctin Mountain Park and narrows in places to practically single-lane width. No surrounding buildings were damaged. A neighboring home stands roughly 100 yards away.

Wivell first arrived to the scene around 7 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Crews shot water onto the second floor, and apparatus surrounded the home, he recalled. Hose line led out to the road. Firefighters rotated work and checked their blood pressure. It took about 50 firefighters roughly 75 minutes to get the blaze under control.

“It was just a really good collaborative effort,” Wivell said Thursday.

The fire was out by midnight, according to Wivell. The sheriff’s office held the scene overnight, then fire marshals returned by 6 a.m. Thursday. Wivell said fire marshals were clearing debris Thursday to prevent another fire.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact FCSO at 301-600-1046 and reference case No. 22-004136.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller

(4) comments


Such a tragedy. May his family and loved ones find peace.


It’s a big thing where I’m from to be proud of elderly relatives living alone in sometimes remote places. This was probably a beautiful home in an unparalleled setting. Maybe they tried to get him to move where people are closer. This can be hard. I’ve been there. You give up trying until an event forces decisions no one wants to make. So sorry. I also once had a fire in my kitchen and understand the impulse to save your house or die trying. I called 911. Closing doors upstairs I realized I couldn’t take a full breath due to smoke and immediately rushed back down before becoming overcome. I’m not fast like that anymore. My condolences to his loved ones.

Greg F

Sad. Also...being next of kin hasn't been notified, if they see this and recognize the house, I think they will have found out c/o FNP.


From appearances, the next of kin do not live in the region.

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