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Arson eyed in town house fires

November 21, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

One of four fires believed to have been intentionally set destroyed an unoccupied home in a new development behind Wal-Mart in Hagerstown Sunday.

According to Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker, the Hagerstown fire marshal's office is investigating fires that damaged three town houses and destroyed another on Atlanta Court in Hager's Crossing early Sunday.

"There was obviously four separate set fires, so it's obviously arson," Hawbaker said.

No one was hurt, Hawbaker said.

According to Washington County Emergency Services dispatchers, a fire at 12535 Atlanta Court was reported at 2:37 a.m., and firefighters cleared the scene at 3:16 p.m.

Units from Maugansville, Halfway and Hagerstown responded to the scene, Hawbaker said.

By about 11 a.m., a trickle of water still flowed from a fire hydrant near a dirt- and straw-covered median strip across from the homes where the fires occurred. While Hawbaker said the affected homes had signs in the windows indicating they had been sold, construction on other neighboring homes is not complete. None of the homes on the street in the area where the fires occurred appeared occupied.

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One house in a cluster of four town houses burned to the ground. The fires caused minor damage to another house in that cluster and two to the west, Hawbaker said.

Dan Ryan Builders and Patriot Homes built the homes, Hawbaker said.

"I honestly don't recall anything of this magnitude, where we had four separate fires," Hawbaker said.

Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in Hager's Crossing early Sunday is asked to call the Hagerstown Fire Marshal at 301-790-2476, Hawbaker said.

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