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Gas vapors, spark caused blast

January 04, 1997

Gasoline vapors and a spark from a dropped trouble light combined into an explosive mix Thursday, destroying a garage and an apartment on Jefferson Boulevard, ruled Deputy Fire Marshal Arthur McGhee.

Injured in the explosions at Hebb's Garage, 20042 Jefferson Boulevard, were Richard Hebb, 78; son, James, 45; and grandson, Scott, 18, all of whom were taken to Washington County Hospital shortly after the 1 p.m. incident.

Richard Hebb was treated and released Thursday, while James and Scott Hebb remained in the hospital in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said Friday.

Richard and James Hebb each had first- and second-degree burns to both legs, while Scott Hebb had second-degree burns to his face and third-degree burns to his hands and arms, fire officials said.

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McGhee said two employees of Hebb's Garage were removing a gasoline tank from a minivan when the tank leaked gasoline on Scott Hebb.

Within seconds, gasoline vapors permeated the garage and were ignited when a trouble light dropped, causing a spark, McGhee said.

Damage estimates were upgraded to $175,000, fire marshals said Friday. The Hebbs, who have owned the business for 50 years, are insured.

Responding to the alarm were more than 50 firefighters from Longmeadow, Funkstown, Leitersburg, Mount Aetna, the Hagerstown Fire Department, Washington County Air Unit and the Hazardous Response Unit.

Community Rescue Service and Hancock Rescue Squad took the injured to the hospital.

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