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Man dies after fire

February 06, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

A man died Thursday night after a fire broke out in an apartment building at 201-203 E. Franklin St., a fire official said.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said he didn't know the man's identity.

Dave Hays, the assistant chief of Community Rescue Service, which took the man to Washington County Hospital, said the man was in cardiac arrest at the scene.

An ambulance took him to Washington County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Hays said.

Fire and rescue crews raced to the three-story brick building at the intersection of Mulberry Street at about 7 p.m. Hawbaker said firefighters found the easternmost apartment on the top floor filled with fire and smoke.

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They also found a man in a bathtub, he said. Emergency workers carried him out and took him to Washington County Hospital.

Hawbaker said officials were trying to determine how the fire started and whether it damaged any adjoining apartments.

Shirley Clipp, who said she lives on the first floor of the apartment building, said she was across the street in Lauren's Tavern when someone came in and told her, "Shirley, your place is on fire."

Tavern owner Teresa Welsh said she, her boyfriend and another man went with Clipp to help rescue her four adult dogs, three puppies and two cockatiels.

Welsh said she owns and lives in the building that houses the tavern, and she put the animals in a vacant apartment.

"One way or another, they'd have a place to go," she said.

Nancy Row, whose apartment is directly under the one that caught fire, said she was at another bar when someone called to alert her.

Vince Herold, who lives in a first-floor apartment, said there are seven apartments in the building.

Residents were among dozens of bystanders gazing at the smoky building from behind yellow caution tape.

Firefighters climbed into the fire-damaged apartment from a ladder extending from a firetruck.

The apartment building was considered uninhabitable, and the American Red Cross was working to find lodging for all the occupants, said Cindy Blackstock Kline, the director of emergency services of the Washington County chapter.

Staff writer Scott Butki contributed to this story.

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