Leaking gas line might have caused fire

March 05, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

HANCOCK - A Washington County couple was staying with family Friday night after their home was damaged in a fire that might have been caused by a leaking gas line in the basement, officials said.

The two-story home at 3203 National Pike, about six miles west of Hancock, used to have a gas log fireplace, Hancock Fire Co. Deputy Chief Brian Reed said. However, the liquid propane line still was in the basement and apparently ignited, he said.

The minor explosion blew a few concrete blocks out of an interior basement wall, Reed said.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Jason Mowbray said the liquid propane line is a possible cause, but the official cause of the fire had not been determined.


The fire damage was limited to the basement, and the rest of the home had moderate smoke damage, Reed said.

No one was home at the time of the explosion, which was reported by a Washington County Sheriff's Department deputy at 2:44 p.m., Reed said. The deputy happened to be checking on a vehicle in a nearby auto body garage when the deputy noticed smoke coming from the house, he said.

The auto body garage is owned and operated by David Finney, Mowbray said. David and Delores Finney live in the house, according to a Maryland State Fire Marshal's office news release.

Firefighters put the fire out within 15 to 20 minutes after arriving, Reed said. He said 35 firefighters and officials from Hancock Fire Co.; Hancock Rescue Squad; Washington County Air Unit; Orleans, Md.; Berkeley Springs, W.Va.; and Needmore, Pa., responded.

Damage was estimated at $7,500 for the structure and $2,500 for the contents, according to the fire marshal's office news release.

The home had a brick veneer and a wood frame, Mowbray said.

The fire heavily damaged electrical wiring in the basement, Reed said.

Tanker trucks were used to provide water to put out the fire because the house was in a rural area, Reed said.

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