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Fire causes heavy damage to home

January 15, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

A mother and her son escaped uninjured Tuesday when their family home was partially destroyed by a fire that was ignited by a wood stove, fire officials said.

Other family members were at work at the time.

According to a report from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, the fire at 21306 Greenbrier Road, in a house owned by Daniel Edward Swope, started accidentally. Heat from a wood stove ignited the ceiling and spread to the rest of the home.

The fire caused $25,000 in damage to the home and another $10,000 in damage to its contents, the report said. Smoke alarms in the home did not activate.

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Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Allen Gosnell said the wood stove was between the house and the garage and was likely the main heat source for the home. If a stove is overloaded with wood, it can overheat pipes running from the stove, Gosnell said.

"The more you burn it, the hotter it gets and you get to the point where you're beyond the safe limit, which is what we expect happened today," he said.

Sandra Haupt, who lives next door, said she arrived at her home while her neighbors' home was still in flames.

"I didn't know whose house was on fire," she said. "It was just all flames when I got home. ... It was totally engulfed."

Shortly after firefighters doused the flames, scorch marks could be seen around windows on the one-story home. The two-car garage also had been burnt.

Nine fire and rescue companies responded to the call, including several that brought water to the rural road.

The American Red Cross chapter of Washington County was called to the home to see if the family needed housing, but the family's needs already had been met, said Cindy Kline, director of emergency services.

Haupt said all the neighbors on the street know each other well and they would help the family.

"We'll pitch in - the community - I'm sure," Haupt said.

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