Fire closes barbershop

January 16, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN - A fire Saturday morning has at least temporarily closed a barbershop on the edge of downtown Hagerstown, said Battalion Chief Kyd Dieterich of the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Tim Wolford said Saturday night that police were investigating a reported pistol-whipping and possible shots fired at the barbershop owner's residence in the 900 block of West Washington Street at 10:02 p.m. Friday.

Wolford said that investigation was ongoing and he could not reveal further details as of 9 p.m. Saturday.

As of Saturday afternoon, Assistant Hagerstown Fire Marshal Richard Miller said he had not been able to reach the barbershop's owner, Cleaven "C.J." Williams Jr. Miller could not be reached Saturday night.


The cause of the 5:40 a.m. fire at 7th Degree Barber Shop at 149 W. Franklin St. had not been determined, Miller said.

The fire started in the basement and came through the floor into the barbershop area of the two-story white brick building with black trim and awnings, Dieterich said.

The fire was reported knocked down at 6:46 a.m., according to Washington County Emergency Services.

A volunteer firefighter, Dale Webb, was taken to Washington County Hospital and discharged, hospital and fire officials said. Fire Capt. Jim Sprecher said he thought Webb had been sent to the hospital because of smoke inhalation.

Williams' father, Cleaven Williams, of Johnstown, Pa., said he did not know where his son was Saturday morning, but that he usually goes out of town on business.

Williams said he found out about the fire when he drove to work Saturday morning. The shop would have opened at 7 a.m.

"Well, I was just concerned that my son was OK and that nobody else was hurt," he said.

Williams said he didn't know if the shop was salvageable.

"It's a lot of damage," he said. Inside the shop, employees were trying to clean up and secure the building, he said.

Williams said he was one of the barbershop's six employees, which includes C.J. Williams' wife.

Williams said he did not know if his son had fire insurance.

The barbershop relocated to the corner of West Franklin and North Prospect streets about 21/2 to 3 months ago, barber Daniel Hart said.

The shop had opened at 114 E. Washington St. in November 2002, according to Herald-Mail archives.

Firefighters forced entry into the barbershop and broke several windows to battle the fire, Dieterich said.

When firefighters arrived, there was heavy smoke coming out of the chimney and a passer-by mentioned smoke coming out of the Bilco-style doors, which allow entry to the basement from the sidewalk, Dieterich said.

Firefighters opened the basement doors, and it was evident there was a basement fire, he said.

A load-bearing wall separating the east side of the building's basement from the west side kept the fire in the east side of the basement, Dieterich said.

Above the west side of the basement was an almost vacant part of the barbershop where cell phones and hair products were going to be sold, Williams said.

The barbershop had a lot of heat and smoke damage, Dieterich said.

The second floor had smoke damage, Dieterich said. That floor appeared to contain unoccupied apartments, he said.

Dieterich and Miller did not have an estimated value for the damage, but Dieterich said it was "considerable" and that the shop would be out of business for awhile.

Firefighters still were dealing with hot spots in the building around 9 a.m., Dieterich said.

West Franklin Street was closed for approximately two hours and that block of North Prospect Street was closed until at least 9:30 a.m.

Staff writer Tara Reilly contributed to this story.

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