Apartment fire put out quickly in city

September 05, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Panic swept tenants out of a three-story apartment building on East Franklin Street Saturday afternoon as smoke filled the building and fire blackened a first-floor apartment.

No one was injured in the 3:09 p.m. blaze at 145 E. Franklin St., Hagerstown Fire Department Capt. Justin Mayhue said.

About 30 firefighters from four divisions of the Hagerstown Fire Department extinguished the bulk of the flames within five minutes of their arrival, while some firefighters checked the six apartments for anyone left behind, Mayhue said.


A firefighter reunited a 4-month-old kitten, Marbles, with her owner, 27-year-old Angie Mooney. The kitten clawed at Mooney's neck and trembled under the stress.

Mooney and her boyfriend, Antonio Mooney, were asleep in their third-floor apartment when they were awoken by the smoke.

"The whole house was filled with smoke," Angie Mooney said. "We went running back and forth to see what was left on."

Antonio Mooney, 30, said that the couple ran out of the apartment down the back steps.

"Thank God they do have them, too," he said.

Shanika Freeman, 24, was in her third-floor apartment, visiting a friend, when she caught wind of the smoke. Everyone in her apartment quickly escaped.

"I got my children out, that's the most important thing," she said. "Everything else can be replaced."

Mayhue said that the fire, the cause of which still is under investigation, was contained in a first-floor apartment on the right side of the building. The rest of the building seemed to have only minor smoke damage, he said.

Former Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Richard Smith, who now lives in York, Pa., was tagging along with Mayhue Saturday to show a couple of friends involved in firefighting how crews operate in Hagerstown. He said that the Franklin Street call was the third call that they went out on Saturday.

"They did a good job," Smith said. "They got out here quickly - they always do."

Smith, who was chief between 1976 and 1986, said that many of the firefighters he saw at the scene Saturday were sons of firefighters with whom he worked.

"Time just flew by," said Smith, 70.

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