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New renter's belongings damaged in fire

July 13, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Fire damaged an apartment near Williamsport where a new resident spent part of Monday moving in her belongings, most of which were damaged beyond repair in the blaze.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital, a Williamsport fire official said.

The fire was reported at an apartment at 9602 Grafton Lane Monday shortly before 7 p.m., said Williamsport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Will Ball. About 60 firefighters were on hand to fight the blaze that gutted the living room, kitchen and entrance of the apartment, and caused severe heat and smoke damage on the second floor, Ball said.

One firefighter, John Wilson of the Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway, was taken to Washington County Hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion, Ball said.

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Wilson was being treated in the Washington County Hospital emergency room late Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said. His condition was not available.

Ball said the blaze was under control approximately 45 minutes after it was reported. Members of the Fairplay, Funkstown, Sharpsburg and Clear Spring volunteer fire companies were among those that responded.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office was still trying to determine the cause of the fire late Monday.

Ball said the fire appeared to be accidental.

Ball said the resident renting the apartment, Karen Bowman, moved into the building Monday. Ball said most of her belongings still were in boxes and were ruined by heat, fire and water. She was not believed to be inside the building when the fire began.

"She's had some real bad luck today," Ball said. "She never even got a chance to stay in her new place."

Outside the apartment were ash-covered boxes full of small kitchen appliances, novels, cookbooks and magazines. Many of the contents were badly burned or soaked by water used to fight the blaze. Nearby were the charred remains of a refrigerator, tables and several pieces of furniture.

Bowman still was at the scene nearly four hours after the fire started.

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