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Smoke fills lobby of W.Va. bank

March 01, 2002

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Fire officials think slowly burning mulch outside Jefferson Security Bank overnight Wednesday caused the lobby area to fill with smoke Thursday morning.

Employees at the bank, at the corner of Washington and Princess streets, smelled smoke Wednesday afternoon but could not determine where it was coming from, said Leon Catrow, chief of the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Co.

Catrow said he believes the mulch may have started smoldering when someone pitched a cigarette butt into it.

The mulch apparently smoldered all night, and burned a section around some wood trim at the front door, said Catrow.

It burned an opening inside the door, which allowed it to spread up the wall, said Catrow.

Some damage was done to the wall when firefighters had to cut into it to extinguish the fire, said Catrow.

Fire crews were called to the bank at 4:56 a.m.

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