A man driving by saw smoke billowing from the apartment building at 1624 Maryland Avenue about 9 Thursday morning and called 9-1-1.
Alfreda Wilder was not home when the fire broke out in her apartment.
Firefighters say the blaze was started by the electric water heater which was completely surrounded by piled up items.
The water heater overheated and set those materials on fire.
Fire Chief James Carswell says the fire could have caused more damage if it had not been spotted quickly. Carswell said "Much worse. Nobody was home at the time of the fire. It was kind of isolated back in the back. So it probably would have done a lot more damage if he hadn't saw it."
Firefighters say the fire damaged two units and caused an estimated 30-thousand dollars in damage.
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