Fire destroys apartment building

March 18, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Fire destroys apartment building

Smoking material in a sofa ignited a fire that destroyed an apartment building behind a house off Northern Avenue Wednesday, fire officials said.

Darryl E. Brandenburg's bicycle was in front of the building, but he was not home at the time, fire officials said.

The state fire marshal's office ruled the fire an accident.

Firefighters from Hagerstown Fire Department and Long Meadow Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 500 Northern Ave. shortly before 3:30 p.m.

Hagerstown Fire Department Capt. Kyd Dieterich said firefighters put out the flames and sifted through the debris to make sure no one was inside.


The one-story, stone building, owned by brothers Hugh and Rowland Brandenburg, dates back to 1825 and once was a butcher and wash house. Hugh Brandenburg, 73, said the farm has been in the family since 1942.

"Even with insurance, you don't like to see your historic buildings go," he said.

Rowland Brandenburg, 75, who lives on Dewey Avenue in Hagerstown, said he converted the building into an apartment for his son about 15 years ago.

Rowland Brandenburg said he discovered the fire.

"I just came in and saw it out the window," he said.

Dieterich said the building was in an isolated spot.

"I didn't even know there was a house up here. You can't see it from the road," he said.

Brandenburg said the apartment contained furniture and a stove.

"Nothing much any good now," said his brother.

Hugh Brandenburg said additions, which doubled the size of the original building, included a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom.

"We have been working on it for years," he said.

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