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Pa. apartment fire leaves 18 homeless

October 05, 2000

Pa. apartment fire leaves 18 homeless



By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Five people were taken to Chambersburg Hospital and 18 were left homeless after an early morning fire swept through a section of a North Main Street apartment building here Thursday.

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One man was admitted to the hospital, and four people were treated and released, according to Chambersburg Fire Chief Allen Baldwin.

The man who was admitted had other health problems and "we could not find out if his problems were fire-related," Baldwin said.

Baldwin said he could not release the name of the man, whom he described as being in his late 50s. He said the others were taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

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"When the first units arrived there was heavy fire and smoke coming from the rear of the structure" at 65-67 N. Main St., Baldwin said. Some people were inside the building and firefighters had to bring them out, he said.

Although the cause of the fire was not immediately determined, "We have no reason to believe it's suspicious at this time," Baldwin said.

The fire was called in at 12:42 a.m. and it took firefighters about 20 minutes to bring it under control.

Baldwin said there was heavy fire damage to the back of the building, which has seven apartments and a store on the first floor, and smoke damage to the rest of the three-story brick building. He said there was no dollar estimate on the damage.

The Franklin County Chapter of the American Red Cross arranged lodging for some of the building's 18 residents.

"We had 11 people at the local Econo Lodge and the remainder of the people stayed with friends or family," said Janet Diller, the executive director of the Franklin County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"No one seems to know how long it will take to make the apartments habitable," Diller said. "The first floor apartment, I understand, was destroyed."

Baldwin said units from the Franklin, New Franklin, West End Shippensburg and Mont Alto fire companies assisted at the scene, along with the Letterkenny Army Depot Fire Department and the Franklin County Air Unit. The scene was cleared at about 3 a.m., he said.

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