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Torch sets garage aflame

May 14, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Fire ripped through a garage on Beaver Creek Road near Funkstown late Thursday morning after a torch being used to melt bolts on a truck ignited a fuel line.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Edward Ernst said a man using a torch under a truck parked in Warrenfeltz's Auto Service's garage at 19640 Beaver Creek Road at 11:30 a.m. Thursday ignited a fuel line, sending the garage up in flames.

Debbie Moore, 36, of Funkstown, said she lives down the road from the garage and saw "orange flames" and then smoke.

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"It turned black and was like a tornado," she said.

Moore, who said her husband is a friend of garage owner Dick Warrenfeltz, said she was concerned the fire would spread to nearby houses.

"I told my husband, that's dangerous. All these cars here are filled with gas," she said.

Nearly 25 firefighters were at the fire scene. Funkstown Fire Co. Lt. Chris Showe said firefighters from Funkstown, Halfway, Mount Aetna and Hagerstown responded, along with members of the Washington County Air Unit and the Washington County Rehab Unit.

Mike Warrenfeltz, 43, said his father has owned the garage for about 30 years.

Ernst said he didn't know how much financial loss incurred as a result of the fire, which charred the inside of the small garage and burned its roof.

Doyle Conrad, 62, said he had been helping out at the garage Thursday morning by putting in a clutch on a truck when the fire started.

"I was scared, big time," he said.

Doyle received medical treatment at the scene but said he was not hurt.

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