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Fire at scene of earlier incident

December 16, 2000

Fire at scene of earlier incident



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


The owner of a Funkstown house that was destroyed by arson late Friday night had threatened to blow up the house almost three weeks ago, fire officials said Saturday.

Dennis Eugene Shank Sr., 51, who owns the house at 109 E. Maple St., was injured when the house burned Friday night. He was in critical condition Saturday at University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center after suffering smoke inhalation, fire officials and a hospital spokeswoman said.

Shank was found in a little room off the kitchen in the back of the house Friday night and was pulled out by firefighter Kyd Dieterich, said Fire Capt. Kevin Kotanko with the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

On Nov. 27, Shank threatened to blow up his natural gas-filled home in a suicide attempt and kept deputies at bay for almost six hours, according to charging documents in Washington County District Court.

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Police were tipped off about Shank's attempt to commit suicide by his daughter, court records state.

He was charged with reckless endangerment and released Dec. 3 from the Washington County Detention Center on $10,000 bond, according to court records and the booking department at the detention center.

Friday night's fire started on the front porch of the two-story log house around 10:40 p.m., fire officials said.

Damage was estimated at $50,000, Faron said. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes.

Kotanko said it took about 20 firefighters 90 minutes altogether to put out the fire.

Community Rescue Service and firefighters from Hagerstown and Halfway also responded.

Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor said the lead investigator in the Friday arson case has a suspect, but no charges had been filed Saturday night.

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