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Sister of fire victim lost 'everything'

September 28, 1997

By RICHARD BELISLE

Staff Writer

Robert Maphis, brother of George Maphis who died in a fire early Friday at his residence at 727 Washington Ave., Hagerstown, said Saturday his sister, who lived in the house with the victim, lost all of her possessions in the blaze.

"She needs everything: clothes, furniture - everything," Robert Maphis said.

His sister, Phyllis Bowles, 58, is living temporarily with her daughter, wants to find a new apartment as soon as she can, Maphis said. He said she is paralyzed on her left side from a stroke but gets around without a wheelchair.

George Maphis, 56, suffered from multiple sclerosis and used a wheelchair. His body was found in the kitchen. The fire, believed to be of accidental origin, occurred around 5 a.m.

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The victim had a habit of lighting cigarettes from the burner on the kitchen gas stove, but investigators don't know if that was the cause, officials said.

"We want to try to get a new apartment for my sister," Robert Maphis said. "The Red Cross has helped, but she still needs a lot more."

Robert Maphis said he is collecting items for his sister. Anyone with donations may call him at 301-791-1707.

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