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Fire crews battle downtown fire at clinic site

September 02, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

Firefighters raced to 160 W. Washington St. around 9:40 this morning for reports of fire coming from the rear of the building which houses several apartments and Hagerstown Reproductive Health Services.

Initial reports were that fire was first seen in the basement of the building.

Gary Baker, 54, who lives on the first floor of the building, said he looked up to see smoke and flames outside his window and called the fire department.

"I was sitting at the table and I seen all this smoke coming out my window," Baker said. "I could see the flames and the fire from my kitchen window."

Baker, who has lived at the property for the past 10 years, said he believes the building was well maintained.

Emergency workers at the scene said they did not believe anyone was trapped in the building or injured as a result of the fire. Firefighters continued to search the building and fire officials declined to comment about the fire as of deadline.

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The amount of damage wasn't known this morning, as firefighters continued their efforts to locate the source of the fire and extinguish it.

In May 1996, another fire heavily damaged the building and forced a late-night evacuation of the apartment dwellers. The clinic was also damaged in the blaze.

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