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Cause of Friday fire in Funkstown discovered

January 08, 2002

Cause of Friday fire in Funkstown discovered



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI
kimy@herald-mail.com


The fire that destroyed the $1 million home of Funkstown's assistant mayor Friday probably was caused by faulty wiring, fire investigators said Monday.

"The fire was most likely the result of a failure of household wiring in the north wall of the house," said Allen Gosnell, deputy chief state fire marshal.

The determination was made after a team of four deputy fire marshals and a supervisor spent hours sifting through rubble at the home of Paul Crampton Jr. and interviewing witnesses on Saturday, he said.

"Due to the size and the intensity of the fire, investigators were unable to do more than an initial survey of the situation Friday night," he said.

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Gosnell said the fire broke out at 334 E. Oak Ridge Drive Friday at around 7:30 p.m. when the Crampton family was away.

Flames quickly spread up the north wall and to the roof of the two-story building, he said.

The roof was quickly engulfed in flames and collapsed, he said.

"Although the home was equipped with sprinklers on the first and second floors, the fire began in an inaccessible wall and spread up to and throughout the attic, thus avoiding the sprinkler systems," Gosnell said.

Gosnell said sprinkler systems are not mandated but are recommended by the fire marshal. They are designed to save lives by protecting residents during an escape, but not to extinguish a two-alarm fire, he said.

Crampton's 6,077-square-foot brick house in Funkstown was built in 2000 on a 43-acre parcel. A passerby saw flames and called 911.

Crampton is president of Paul Crampton Contractors, which built the South Pointe development on Oak Ridge Drive. He could not be reached for comment.

About 100 firefighters from Funkstown and surrounding communities battled the two-alarm blaze that destroyed the home. They brought the fire under control by 9 p.m.

There were no injures in the blaze.

Gosnell said firefighters had difficulty battling the fire because of the 20- to 30-degree temperatures and a scarcity of available water.

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