Fire strikes days after car hits house

January 23, 1998


Staff Writer

SMITHSBURG - A chimney fire broke out in a Smithsburg home Friday night - the same home struck by a car on Monday.

"Like I don't have enough problems," said Jim Ensley, who rents the house on 21612 Jefferson Boulevard with his family.

Although the house is still inhabitable, repairs will be necessary to the rear of the home and the attic, which was damaged by smoke and water.

The chimney fire started shortly after 5 p.m. It was caused by a failed flue liner, said Chief Ronnie Jeter, of Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co. The fire was within the walls of the first and second floor and the attic, Jeter said.


Ensley realized there was a problem when his wife, Georgie, smelled something burning.

"I felt the walls and they were hot," Ensley said.

While his wife dialed 911, Ensley took an ax to the floor and the wall, cutting openings to throw water on the fire.

"If I didn't do what I did do, I'd probably have lost half of the house," Ensley said. "I tried to go up my attic but I just couldn't get up there. It was too smoky."

Billy Ensley, 11, grabbed his 2-year-old cousin and got her out of the house while his dad tried to put out the flames.

Just four days earlier, an out-of-control car struck the east side of the house.

An 18-year-old Blue Summit, Pa., man was driving west on Jefferson Boulevard, trying to pass another vehicle, when he lost control Monday afternoon, Maryland State Police said. The car struck a utility pole and the Ensleys' house.

Despite the two accidents this week, Ensley is positive.

"As long as I have a good body and I'm able to work, I can always replace what's taken away," he said. "I was going to redo the whole back anyway, but I wasn't planning to do it this quick."

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