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Kaetzel Road arson fire investigated

April 03, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

Maryland state fire investigators said a fire that destroyed a two-story home early Tuesday appeared to have been intentionally set.

Fire broke out at 2234 Kaetzel Road in Rohrersville around midnight, Deputy Maryland State Fire Marshal Steven M. Wendling said.

The home, owned by Crena Anderson, was unoccupied at the time. Tenants had moved out a day earlier, Wendling said.

Witnesses saw a slim, white woman driving away in a white van, he said. The woman had long hair and was wearing blue jeans and a jacket, he said.

Wendling said investigators hope the unidentified woman may have information about the fire.

Wendling said he and Deputy State Fire Marshal Ryan Chapman toured the home looking for clues to the source of the blaze Tuesday afternoon. Chapman's accelerant-detecting dog Canyon alerted to areas in the kitchen and dining room in the front of the home, he said.

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An initial investigation indicated that the fire was set and an accelerant was used to make the fire burn rapidly, said Wendling.

Wendling said he sent debris from the home for testing. He wasn't sure when the testing would be completed.

A neighbor heard crackling noises and looked out a window to see flames and smoke rising from the front of the wood-frame home.

Firefighters from Boonsboro, Rohrersville, Potomac Valley, Brunswick, Md., and Harpers Ferry, W.Va., arrived at the scene quickly after the 911 call but were unable to save the home, Wendling said. The Washington County Air Unit also was at the scene.

"Both floors were well involved when firefighters got to the scene," Wendling said.

Damage was estimated at $40,000, he said.

A shed near the home was saved, said Wendling.

Anyone with information about the fire or the unidentified woman may call the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal at 301-791-4758.

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