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Fire damages Virginia Avenue home

June 17, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

A fire erupted in the bedroom of a house on Virginia Avenue Wednesday afternoon, but an alert caller who spotted smoke from across the street and Hagerstown firefighters prevented it from raging out of control.

"If it had been another five or 10 minutes, fire would have been blowing out of the windows," Battalion Chief Ron Horn said.

Firefighters brought the 3:15 p.m. fire under control in about three minutes. Damage to the two-story home at 1080 Virginia Ave. was largely contained to the second-story bedroom, he said.

The blaze spread into the walls and up to the attic. After putting out the fire, firefighters tore away the side wall searching for flames.

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"The problem is tearing everything out and getting to the hidden fire," he said.

Assistant Hagerstown Fire Marshal Wayne Smith said he had not determined how the fire began.

The house, which had been converted into two apartments, is owned by Bruce Dick Sr.

Dick's son, Bruce Dick Jr., said his father rented out the apartments after he moved in with him about two years ago.

A husband and wife rent the undamaged apartment at 1080 1/2 Virginia Ave., Dick said. He said he rents the other apartment to his two daughters and another woman.

Joy Edmands, who shares the apartment with Kari and Dana Dick, said she was returning from work when the fire broke out.

Edmands, who works at a youth camp, said she had been working in a creek all day and was coming home to change. When she approached her apartment, she realized fire police had blocked off the road.

Thinking there had been a traffic accident, Edmands said she parked her car and walked the rest of the way. When she got to the house, she saw firefighters pulling aluminum siding away from the house.

"I don't think I'm going to be changing anytime soon," she said.

Kari Dick, 30, a traveling nurse, has been living and working in Beckley, W.Va., at the Appalachian Bible Camp, her father said.

While she has been a away, her room, where the fire started, has been used by Kathy McKinney.

McKinney and Dana Dick, 28, were not home when the blaze started.

Bruce Dick said Dana and Kathy are preparing to leave for Argentina in August to be missionaries for two years.

"Not a good send-off," Edmands said.

But Edmands, 26, looked on the bright side.

"I'm just really thankful Dana and Kathy weren't here," she said. "Possessions can be replaced, and people can't."

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