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Fire destroys house

April 18, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN- A Hagerstown family escaped injury Sunday afternoon when their home on Bluebird Avenue caught fire, a local fire official said.

The Clifford family evacuated the home in the 20500 block of Bluebird Avenue after they were told by a neighbor of a fire in the garage, Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Jon Gift said.

Gift said the fire was reported at 1:25 p.m. He said the blaze started in the garage, where there was gasoline, and quickly spread to the first and second floors of the home.

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"Starting in the garage may have given it some additional fuel," Gift said.

Gift said about 30 firefighters from Funkstown, Hagerstown and Smithsburg were able to get the fire under control in nearly 45 minutes. Still, severe damage had been done, he said.

"I'm not sure what the value of the house is, but it's a total loss," Gift said.

Gift said the fire was being investigated by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, and that he did not know the cause of the blaze by Sunday evening.

A representative from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office could not be reached late Sunday for comment on the investigation.

Gift said none of the firefighters or the four residents, including two children, were injured in the blaze.

Bluebird Avenue resident Kathryn Pensis said she was doing work in her yard Sunday when she saw smoke coming from the adjacent property. Pensis said when she ran toward the house, she saw "big flames" in the garage area.

"I ran to the front door, opened it and hollered for them to get out," said Pensis, who has lived next to the family for about eight years. "I knew it wouldn't be long (before it spread to the house).

"I'm just thankful I saw the smoke," Pensis said.

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