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Son of EMTs takes over as chief deputy fire marshal

August 20, 2000

Son of EMTs takes over as chief deputy fire marshal



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Mark A. BilgerThe ability to look at the charred remains of a burnt structure and determine the source and path of a fire has always interested Mark Bilger.

The son of emergency medical technicians, Bilger said he grew up hearing about fire and rescue scenes and realized that the investigative work of a fire marshal was for him.

"It's fascinating," said Bilger of reconstructing fire scenes.

Last week Bilger, 37, of Hampstead, Md., was named deputy chief fire marshal for the Western Regional Office in Hagerstown by State Fire Marshal Rocco J. Gabrielle.

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"Mark was chosen from a list of very capable candidates and I believe he will set the standard for future supervisors," said Gabrielle.

The Western region includes Washington, Allegheny and Garrett counties.

Bilger has been acting supervisor at the Hagerstown office since his predecessor Ted Meminger was transferred July 1 to the Metro regional office which covers Frederick, Carroll and Howard counties.

As supervisor, Bilger oversees the daily operations of the office which includes five deputy marshals, a fire inspector and administrative assistant.

He also works closely with fire and police departments in all three counties and performs public education and relations.

Bilger started out his career with the state fire marshal's office in Hagerstown spending two years here before being transferred to the Metro office where he has worked for the past five years, he said.

Although much of his duties will be administrative, Bilger will be able to keep his hand in fire reconstruction work by overseeing the investigations of his deputies.

Since Jan. 1, the Hagerstown office has investigated 45 calls for service in Washington County of those, 17 were determined to be arson, 25 accidental and 3 were false alarms, he said.

It will be Bilger's job to review the preliminary investigations and decide whether to pursue the matter.

He also personally handles all fatal fires in Washington County.

"I look forward to the new challenges being placed on me," said Bilger.

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