Fire damages Boonsboro home

October 04, 1997


Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - A two-alarm fire that destroyed part of a two-story home at 112 Potomac St. here Friday morning was caused by a gas stove, state Fire Marshal James M. Woods said.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

Woods said owner Thomas Harry Remsburg, 67, had used the stove in a summer kitchen to the rear of the home before leaving for work. He said combustibles stored too close to the stove caught fire.

Neighbors in an adjoining house at 114 Potomac St. discovered the fire about 7:30 a.m. and called 911, Woods said.

Remsburg's house was damaged by fire, heat and smoke and is uninhabitable, Woods said. There was $20,000 in damage to the home's contents, and $45,000 in damage to the house itself, he said.


The home next door had some smoke damage, Woods said.

There was a smoke detector in Remsburg's house, but it was inoperable, Woods said.

Fire trucks and air units from several county fire companies lined the street Friday morning as 60 firefighters battled the blaze that began about 7:30 a.m. The fire was brought under control within 45 minutes.

Smoke was still pouring from the summer kitchen at 9 a.m. Firefighters using air canisters crawled out of the second floor of the home and down ladders to the street, which was criss-crossed by a maze of water hoses.

Medics monitored condition of firefighters. Two sat on the sidewalk while their blood pressure was taken.

Units from Boonsboro, Hagerstown, Sharpsburg, Middletown, Funkstown, Myersville and Mount Aetna responded to the fire.

Boonsboro Deputy Fire Chief Curt Fales said when he arrived on the scene the back of the home was fully involved in fire, and there was heavy smoke coming from the building. Flames came through the back of the kitchen to the main structure of the house, Fales said.

The home was heavily damaged by heat and smoke, he said.

Fales said firefighters were hampered by "conditions in the residence." He didn't elaborate.

Homeowner Remsburg stood across the street Friday morning watching firefighters set up fans to draw the smoke out of his house. What used to be windows were gaping holes in the front of the house.

"It happened just after I went to work a little after 7 a.m.," Remsburg said. "Looks like it started in the back kitchen. I went to wash my hands, and must have accidentally bumped the stove and turned on the gas burner."

Remsburg said he lives alone. He bought the old tin-roof house in 1991. It was insured, he said.

Remsburg said he works for the Town of Boonsboro, hauling trash and plowing snow and "doing whatever the town needs done." He said he was at the town park picking up trash when he was told about the fire.

Remsburg said he did not know where he would be staying.

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