Blazes kindle on furnishings

December 28, 1997

Blazes kindle on furnishings



Staff Writers

Two Washington County homes Sunday were damaged by fires that ignited on furniture, fire officials said.

In the first fire, a woman was treated for smoke inhalation after her apartment caught fire at the Homewood Retirement Center, according to Halfway firefighters.

Firefighters were called to the community's Hilltop Apartment Building, at 16505 Virginia Ave., Williamsport, at about 11 a.m. for a fire in a first-floor apartment.


Firefighters suspect a cigarette started the fire, which destroyed an armchair in the living room and left heavy smoke in the apartment and hallway, said Capt. Nick Dattilio of The Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway. A female resident was treated by paramedics for smoke exposure, Dattilio said.

Units from Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service and Williamsport, Funkstown and Maugansville fire companies assisted.

In the second fire, which occurred shortly after 2 p.m., a woman fell asleep on a couch at a home on Woodlands Run and dropped her newspaper into a candle on a coffee table, according to the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Capt. Brian Pile said the woman woke up and threw the burning paper, which ignited a fire on the couch.

"She must have awoke immediately because she had no injuries whatsoever," he said.

Pile said the woman tried to put the fire out, first by stomping on it and then by throwing water on it. When that didn't work, she called her daughter in Middletown, Md., he said.

By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had mostly burned itself out but had caused heavy damage to the living room and kitchen, Pile said.

"Heavy black smoke was just pouring out. This thing was rocking for a while," he said.

Pile said all of the doors and windows were shut and sealed tight, robbing the fire of the oxygen it needed to grow. Two bedroom doors were also locked, which prevented major damage there.

Still, it destroyed the couch and drapes and caused severe damage, Pile said. It climbed up the walls toward the ceiling, damaging items on the wall, he said.

Pile said the confined fire made the apartment extremely hot; pictures on the wall melted, along with inhalers that the woman had on the table.

"She's extremely lucky that she wasn't hurt," he said.

Pile said people should immediately get out of a building when they discover a fire and call 911 from another phone.

"Leave the fire-fighting to us. Get out of the house. That's the most important thing," he said.

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