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Fire marshal's office says barn blaze was accidental

February 03, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

MYERSVILLE - A firefighter was injured while battling flames that engulfed an unoccupied barn off Greenbrier Road Wednesday morning, Myersville (Md.) Fire Co. Lt. Matt Walters said.

The fire broke out at about 11:30 a.m. in a red barn at the rear of 21312 Greenbrier Road, said Boonsboro Fire Co. firefighter Scott Mullendore.

Walters said a Frederick, Md., firefighter was hit in the shoulder by something while he was inside the barn fighting the flames.

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"He'll be all right," he said.

The barn's owner, Allan Haupt, 61, who was nursing his back because of recent surgery, had tears in his eyes as firefighters behind his house pulled tin from the six-year-old barn's roof.

Smoke billowed from the small barn as firefighters used chain saws to open it up, pike poles to open up the roof and hooks to pry the tin roof from the side. Flames intermittently shot out of the barn.

Haupt said he had about 60 chickens, most of which he thought escaped the barn, exercise equipment, a computer and television sets inside the structure.

Haupt said he had a wood stove running in the barn at the time of the fire.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said in a written release that the fire was accidental and the cause was electrical. The loss to the structure was estimated at $10,000 and the loss of the contents was estimated at $5,000, according to the release.

Haupt's daughter, who lives nearby, notified him when she saw smoke, said Haupt, who was walking around his house hunched in pain from surgery.

When she told him, Haupt said he was shocked.

"I run out there and had a little fire extinguisher and tried to hit it," he said.

Haupt clarified that he didn't exactly run. Nearby neighbors called for help.

Mullendore said between 30 and 40 firefighters responded to the fire. A release from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said fire companies from Boonsboro, Mount Aetna, Smithsburg, Sharpsburg, Myersville and Halfway and the Washington County Air Unit responded to the scene.

He said there were no combustibles inside the barn.

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