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Fire damages Hagerstown duplex

September 24, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Ernestine Nelson left work Thursday night when she learned from her granddaughter that a fire at the duplex where they lived filled the South Potomac Street residence with smoke.

Minutes later, Nelson returned home to find a fleet of fire trucks, smoke damage to the home and her family unharmed.

Hagerstown Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Myers said a fire at 713 S. Potomac St., reported at about 9:52 p.m., gutted the rear of the first floor of the house and left the connected home with substantial smoke damage.

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Firefighters were on the scene in less than two minutes and had the blaze under control in about 10 minutes, Myers said.

"There was heavy fire coming from the rear when we got here," Myers said. "We got here pretty quick, but we had a lot of pre-burn before we were notified."

Myers said the fire was being investigated and it appeared to be accidental.

He said no injuries were reported.

Shortly after 10:20 p.m., Nelson arrived at the duplex and immediately began talking to family members and firefighters. Her son, Robert Nelson, said he was sleeping inside 711 S. Potomac St., when the fire erupted.

"My niece woke me up and told me to get out. Our house filled up with smoke like that," he said, snapping his fingers.

Ernestine Nelson, who moved to the house after a fire damaged her residence on East Franklin Street three years ago, said she came home from work after receiving a call from her granddaughter.

"When I hear my granddaughter crying, I know something is really wrong," she said. "I don't play when it comes to that."

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