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Man burned in hotel fire hospitalized

February 28, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A resident of the Dagmar Hotel, who sustained burns to 40 percent of his body in a Saturday night fire, was in critical condition Sunday night at John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, a spokesperson there said.

Stephen Ropelewski was taken to Washington County Hospital then transferred to Baltimore after being rescued from a fire on the Summit Avenue hotel's sixth floor Saturday night, fire officials said.

Ropelewski suffered second-and-third-degree burns, according to fire officials.

Another person was treated at Washington County Hospital for smoke inhalation and released, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 10:40 p.m., after the blaze was spotted by a passer-by. The Hagerstown Fire Department contained the fire to one apartment.

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The cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Hagerstown Fire Marshal's office.

Susan Boward, a night desk clerk at the hotel, said she and her husband were in their room on the seventh floor when she heard popping sounds.

"We looked out the window and we saw smoke and flames," Boward said.

Her husband, Ronnie Gore, alerted everyone on their floor and they evacuated using the hotel's emergency stairs exit, she said.

"Luckily, it didn't spread to any other rooms," Boward said.

Boward said she and other residents stood outside until it was safe to return to the building.

Some residents received temporary shelter at the Antietam Fire Station until around 2 a.m, fire officials said. The fire station is several buildings away and across the street from hotel.

Evacuated residents were allowed to return to the building after the fire protection system was tested by technicians, fire officials said.

Approximately 50 Washington County firefighters, rescue workers and police officers responded to the fire.

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