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Fire guts dean's apartment

November 30, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Thanksgiving break kept a Monday morning fire in a dean's apartment at Highland View Academy from injuring anyone inside or in an adjoining boys' dormitory, Mount Aetna Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Terry Stouffer said.

The 12:49 a.m. fire at the 10100 Academy Drive school east of Hagerstown was under control within 45 minutes, Stouffer said. He said the dean's apartment, which adjoined a boys' dormitory, was a total loss. He estimated damage to the apartment at $75,000, but said there was no damage to the boys' dormitory.

No one was staying in the dean's apartment or in the dormitory because of Thanksgiving break, he said.

Stouffer said the fire was ruled accidental. He said a baseboard heater either ignited on its own or a nearby curtain played a role.

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"The wall between (the apartment) and the dorm stopped the fire from spreading to the dorm," Stouffer said.

He said a dog inside the apartment survived the blaze, but a cat did not.

Sandy Iverson, food service director at Highland View Academy, said about 30 boys live in the adjoining dormitory and were not due back until Monday evening.

School resumes today, said Iverson, who was on call this weekend to handle phone calls coming to the school.

Boys' Dean Gary DeVore and his wife, Candy DeVore, lived in the apartment, but were in Florida at the time of the fire, Iverson said.

"I'm glad no one was home and the kids were away, but I wish someone was on campus because they may have caught it earlier," Iverson said.

Stouffer said fire companies from Mount Aetna, Smithsburg, Funkstown and Boonsboro responded to the fire. He said Community Rescue Service and a Smithsburg ambulance also responded to the scene, along with special response units.

Stouffer said that when fire companies arrived, fire was coming out of the apartment windows and smoke filled the boys' dormitory. He said the bulk of the fire was extinguished quickly.

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