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Hagerstown man's death ruled a suicide

May 28, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

A Hagerstown man who was found dead Tuesday at a burning Hagerstown home apparently set fire to the house with his family inside before committing suicide, according to a report by the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

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Gregory Allen Pena, 49, of 11926 Sycamore Drive, was pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital shortly after he was found in the yard at about 11:41 p.m., the report said.

Pena had obvious signs of head trauma that indicated a gunshot wound, but no other signs of burns or injury were obvious when rescuers arrived, the report said.

An autopsy conducted at the medical examiner's office in Baltimore on Wednesday determined Pena's injuries indicated suicide, the report said.

An investigation revealed that Pena apparently started several fires in different areas in the basement of the one-story brick ranch-style house, then committed suicide in his bedroom, the report said.

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Family members called 911 after smelling smoke inside the house a short time later and discovering the fire downstairs, the report said.

It is not known how many people were in the home at the time.

Several people entered an exterior door to the basement while the fire was still in progress and pulled Pena outside to the backyard, the report said.

Residents in the quiet, tree-lined neighborhood off of Jefferson Boulevard said Wednesday they didn't hear or see anything until the fire engines pulled up at the home. Some said they slept through the commotion.

Sixty firefighters quickly put out the blaze. Damage to the home is estimated at $3,000, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor.

Pena worked as an electrician at Mack Trucks Inc. in Hagerstown for the past 19 years, according to a spokeswoman at the company's Allentown, Pa., headquarters.

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