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Father critically injured in fire

September 01, 1999

KEEDYSVILLE - A father trying to douse a fire believed set by his 8-year-old child playing with a lighter Monday was in critical condition Tuesday evening at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in Baltimore.

Robert Eugene Hooper, 34, was asleep on the sofa in his 8 N. Main St. home at 6:49 p.m. when he was awakened by a fire in the master bedroom, according to investigators with the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office.

A 12-year-old passerby also noticed the fire and reported it, fire marshals said.

In his efforts to fight the fire, Hooper suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns to his left arm, fire marshals said.

An 8-year-old child was playing with a cigarette lighter while sitting on a bed, according to fire marshals. The child burned a finger and dropped the lighter, which ignited paper and clothing on the floor near the bed, fire marshals said. The fire spread to a night stand and mattress.

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The child and a sibling weren't hurt in the fire, which caused $6,000 damage to the home, fire marshals said.

About 35 firefighters from Boonsboro, Potomac Valley, Rohrersville, Sharpsburg, Fairplay and Shepherdstown, W.Va., responded to the fire at the single-family, wood frame dwelling.

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