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Firefighters to set house ablaze today

January 28, 2002

Firefighters to set house ablaze today



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Sometimes you've gotta break the rules and sometimes you've gotta burn down a house.

Today, starting around 8:30 a.m., Waynesboro and other area firefighters will set fire to a two-story brick home at 1617 E. Main St., in Washington Township, to make way for Waynesboro's first Burger King Restaurant.

The drill will not only give firefighters some valuable, hands-on training, but it will also get rid of the house so construction can begin on the fast-food restaurant.

The house has been owned by Douglas Pugh since 1974, according to Washington Township records. Pugh operated his business, Pugh's Petcetera, on the second floor of the home for years. He closed the Waynesboro business in the fall of 2000.

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He owns a business with the same name in Hagerstown.

Pugh sold the Waynesboro property to Western Maryland Fast Food Foods of Hagerstown, developers of the new Burger King restaurant, said Jerry Zeigler, code enforcement office for Washington Township.

Pugh could not be reached for comment.

Zeigler said a permit was issued to raze the house and it was decided to let the fire department use it as a training exercise.

"It will be a good way to train using a controlled environment," said Waynesboro Fire Chief Dale Fishack.

He said the exercise will take most of the day. The house won't be burned down in one huge conflagration.

"We'll be setting small fires and putting them out all day until the building becomes too unsafe to enter," Fishack said.

He said the training will benefit new firefighters as well as provide a refresher course for veterans.

Firefighters from Waynesboro, Mont Alto and Blue Ridge Summit in Pennsylvania and Smithsburg will participate, he said.

"Sometimes you've gotta break the rules," was a promotional slogan created and used by the Burger King chain during the last decade, according to the company's Web site.

The area's water drought was a consideration when planning the event, Waynesboro Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman said Saturday.

The area where the house is located is on a hydrant system so firefighting would deplete the local water supply, he said.

Because firefighters don't want to affect that supply, they will use water brought by tanker shuttles from a neighboring pond, Hartman said.

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