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Fire cause may be announced today

April 08, 2001

Fire cause may be announced today



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown fire marshal is expected to announce today the apparent cause of a two-alarm blaze that gutted one city apartment building and damaged another Saturday afternoon.

The fire started at 105-107 S. Potomac St. around noon and quickly spread to 109 S. Potomac St., which adjoins 107.

About 75 firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours while fire police blocked off many of the surrounding streets.

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Hagerstown Fire Department, Engine 1, volunteer firefighter Frank Shupp Jr. was treated at Washington County Hospital for dehydration and exhaustion and released, said Hagerstown Battalion Chief Ron Horn.

Western Enterprise volunteer Larry Vaughn was injured when he tripped over a hose while working with air equipment during the fire, Horn said.

He was treated at the scene, he said.

The second and third floors of 105-107 S. Potomac St., were destroyed and the third floor of the building at 109 S. Potomac St., was damaged, firefighters said.

Horn said 105-107 S. Potomac St., was condemned following the fire.

He was called to the building last year for a stove fire, said Horn.

A fire marshal was investigating the blaze Sunday and "should have a fairly good idea," of the cause today, said Horn.

On Sunday, piles of broken windows lay against the side of the building and glass shards littered the sidewalk and metered parking spaces in front of 105-107.

The buildings housed at least six apartments and two businesses and were among those organizers wanted to demolish to make way for a proposed Civil War Museum.

Russell Mizell, whose wife owns 105-107 S. Potomac St., said in March 2000, the couple orally agreed to sell the building to museum planners.

Ten apartment residents were being helped by Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said Cindy Blackstock Kline, director of emergency services.

She said the organization put up about half of the people in hotels following the fire.

Some of the residents lost everything and will have to start from scratch in rebuilding their homes, she said.

Kline said she has to do damage assessments to determine what items the Red Cross will replace for victims.

"We don't want to replace what was never there," she said.

The Red Cross will only provide essentials for the victims, she said.

With Saturday's fire the Red Cross disaster fund is $8,000 in the red, she said.

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