Man found dead after fire warned others to escape

February 07, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE and ANDREW SCHOTZ

A Hagerstown woman and her three children were able to escape an apartment fire Thursday night, but the man who shouted for her to get the children out died in the fire, Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said Friday morning.

Henry Dean, 68, was found dead in the bathtub of his third-floor apartment at 201-203 E. Franklin St., where he might have been trying to fight the fire and got trapped, Hawbaker said.

The fire, which was reported at about 7 p.m., started near a bed in the apartment, he said.

The cause of the fire and the cause of Dean's death are under investigation, Hawbaker said. An autopsy will be performed.


Tara Dorsey-Burgess returned home to Apt. 8, the three-bedroom apartment she shared with Dean and six other people, to find smoke coming out from under a door to the apartment, Hawbaker said.

When Dorsey-Burgess entered the apartment, Dean shouted at her to get the children out and initially began following the four out, Hawbaker said. Then Dean turned around and Dorsey-Burgess thought he was leaving the apartment from a second exit door, he said.

Hawbaker said Dorsey-Burgess thought Dean got out OK and that they just couldn't find each other outside.

Dean was found in cardiac arrest and taken to Washington County Hospital, where he officially was pronounced dead, Hawbaker said.

Zybaja Dorsey, 1, was taken to Washington County Hospital for treatment of second-degree burns to her hands, Hawbaker said.

The other two children are Cedric Hardy, 3, and Zavaria Burgess, 2, he said.

A hospital spokeswoman said Zybaja Dorsey was not at the hospital. She did not know if the child had been treated and released or transfered to another hospital.

Hawbaker said he did not know if all of the residents in the apartment were related.

Attempts to reach family members Friday were unsuccessful.

The apartment building is considered uninhabitable. Shelter was found for occupants of the eight apartments, said Cindy Blackstock Kline, director of emergency services of the Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross.

The other apartments on the third floor had smoke damage and there was some water damage to the apartments below, Hawbaker said. Friday morning, firefighters were back at the scene, checking a report that smoke was seen coming out of the building again.

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