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Tenant declared missing after fire

February 09, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - A woman who was a tenant at a Clear Spring dwelling that was destroyed by a fire that began late Sunday has been declared missing, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office and Maryland State Police said Tuesday.

Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Allen Gosnell said Carol Jean Bank, 55, of 15033 Hicksville Road, was not inside her first-floor apartment in the converted barn as fire ravaged the building.

Gosnell said investigators were concerned about her whereabouts because, among other reasons, "she has information we need."

"She wasn't in that house. We tore that thing apart," Gosnell said.

David Dorsey, 42, and his wife Donna Sue Dorsey, 43, own the converted dairy barn and lived there with their three children on the second floor of the two-story structure. The Dorseys and Billy Nguyen, who rented a ground-floor apartment inside the home, escaped without injury as the fire engulfed the dwelling.

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Gosnell said a cause of the fire had not been determined. He said the investigation was slowed Tuesday because resources were spread thin as a result of a series of arsons in the Hancock area late Monday and early Tuesday.

Maryland State Police Trooper Russell Plante said investigators have initiated a missing person investigation and are asking for the public's assistance in finding Bank.

Bank is described as being white, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 125 pounds, according to a police news release. She was last seen at her apartment Sunday at about 1 p.m., the release states.

Plante said no charges had been filed Tuesday against Bank in connection with the fire, which appeared to have started in her apartment.

Monika Shifflett, a manager at the Grand Venice Hotel, Wedding and Conference Center, where Bank is employed, said she had not seen or spoken to Bank since the weekend. Shifflett said Bank was not scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday.

Nearly 50 firefighters from Washington County, Franklin County, Pa., and Morgan County, W.Va., were called to douse the blaze that was reported just before midnight Sunday at the house at 15033 Hicksville Road.

It took two hours for firefighters to bring the blaze under control, but the last firefighters left the home at about 11 a.m. Monday.

Police ask anyone with information about Bank's whereabouts to call them at 301-739-2101.

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