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Flower deliveries halted while men battle flames

February 15, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Two men made deliveries Monday through rain, snow, sleet and even a short firefighting interlude.

They two weren't postal workers, they were delivering flowers for a South Potomac Street shop's Valentine's Day customers.

Hagerstown Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Myers said two men delivering flowers for Ben's Flower Shop spotted a fire at 1127 Pennsylvania Ave. at about 11:29 a.m. They didn't just report the fire though, they helped fight it.

"The men got a garden hose that was at the residence and were doing what they could with that," Myers said. "When we got there, we had pretty heavy fire coming from the back of the garage."

Myers did not release the cause of the fire Monday and did not report any serious injuries. He said the fire was mostly contained to the garage, but was starting to spread toward the house before it was put out.

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Myers said the men's efforts were helpful, although he said it was hard to quantify just how much assistance they provided. Their assistance at the scene got them blocked in for more than an hour on the busy holiday, Myers said.

"It's a shame, they had a whole car full of flowers to deliver, and they were blocked in," he said.

Ben O'Brien, whose father Harry O'Brien is a co-owner of the shop, said he expected to be busy with a lot of tasks on Valentine's Day, but firefighting was not one of them.

"That was a new one," he said. "My dad wasn't too happy. Sometimes (your schedule) has to go by the wayside."

O'Brien, who was traveling with Tom Shantz, said he was surprised they noticed the smoke with a jammed Valentine's Day schedule to focus on.

"We had like 400 deliveries today. It was rush, rush, rush," O'Brien said. "We were lucky to even see it."

Shantz, a friend of Harry O'Brien who was helping for the day, said the flames spread rapidly between the time of their arrival and that of the firefighters.

"There were flames running up the side of the house," Shantz said.

Shantz said he and O'Brien tried to douse the flames with a hose and warned people inside the house, connected to the partially engulfed garage, of the blaze.

Shantz said he and O'Brien were able to complete their late morning/afternoon route although store deliveries continued past 7 p.m.

"We had rain, sleet, snow, a fire ... We had it all," Shantz said.

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