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10-year-old boy escapes house fire in Hancock

suffers smoke inhalation

February 12, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

HANCOCK - A 10-year-old boy escaped a house fire Saturday afternoon by climbing onto the front porch roof of his grandmother's house, said Hancock Fire Company Chief Ernie Truax.

At first afraid to jump down, the boy, who was wearing only his underwear, finally jumped into the arms of Hancock-area resident Tom Golden, said another Hancock-area resident, Robert McCusker. McCusker said he covered the boy with one of his coats until the Hancock Rescue Squad arrived.

Clarence Meyers Jr. was treated for smoke inhalation and released from War Memorial Hospital in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., on Saturday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Meyers was released into his father's custody, Truax said. The boy was living with his grandmother, Truax said.

The boy was alone in the 5241 Western Pike house shortly after 2 p.m. when a fire began on the kitchen stove and spread through the kitchen, said State Fire Marshal Jim Woods.

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A passerby notified firefighters of the fire by stopping by the 3 Fulton St. fire hall, Truax said.

The fire devastated the kitchen and flames reached through to the second floor, weakening the roof and floors of the green, two-story, wood frame house with asbestos shingling, said Woods, a certified fire and explosion investigator.

The fire damage was estimated at $60,000 and left the house uninhabitable, said Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Allen Ward.

Approximately 50 firefighters from Hancock, Needmore, Clear Spring, Berkeley Springs and Allegany County had the fire under control within an hour, Ward said.

The Washington County Emergency Management Field Operations, the Washington County Air Unit and the Washington County Emergency Rehab Unit also responded.

Firefighters remained on the scene until shortly after 5 p.m.

They had to knock out walls to make sure the fire was completely extinguished because there was space within the walls, Truax said.

Firefighters had to pump water from a hydrant behind the former London Fog plant, leaving a fire hose stretched in front of Hancock Middle-Senior High School to get to the house on the other side of the school.

The fire hose forced about two dozen people to wait 2 1/2 hours before they could leave the school parking lot because the entrance and exit were blocked.

There is a $275 fine for running over a fire hose, a fire official said.

The group was at the school for the Smithsburg-Hancock basketball game between seventh- and eighth-graders. Smithsburg won, said Robert Hendershot Sr., who was waiting in his pickup truck after watching his grandson play.

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