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Wrong wattage blamed for fire

May 02, 2000

KEEDYSVILLE - Two young boys escaped injury Tuesday morning when a lamp overheated and started a fire that caused $60,000 damage to their 11 S. Main St. home.

"There was a 75-watt bulb in a lamp rated for 60-watt maximum," said Deputy State Fire Marshal Ted Meminger.

He said it appeared that the bulb overheated and caught the lampshade on fire, and the blaze spread to nearby papers and curtains.

The duplex was occupied by Joseph and Claudette Gagnon and their five children, ranging in age from 15 months to 13 years.

Two of the older boys were at home waiting to go to school at around 8 a.m. when they heard the upstairs smoke detector sounding, fire officials said.

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With their mother visiting a neighbor, the boys decided to go upstairs and try to extinguish the fire themselves, giving the blaze time to spread, fire officials said.

The boys then ran to a neighbor's house and asked them to call the fire department.

The family, which was displaced by the fire, was aided by the Washington County Red Cross.

Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro and Jefferson County, W.Va., firefighters responded to the blaze.

Jim Woods, state fire investigator, also went to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.

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