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Cause of fire not yet known

February 22, 2006|By

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

A fire in a Hagerstown mobile home that left a woman dead Monday night was still being investigated Tuesday.

The cause of the fire at 280 S. Prospect St. was still unknown, according to Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker. He said officials were awaiting a report from a medical examiner before determining the cause.

Linda Irene Ford, 58, was killed in the blaze, and her daughter, Dawn Bunch, 40, was hospitalized with burns.

Bunch had been discharged from Washington County Hospital by Tuesday night, a nursing supervisor there said.

William Diamond lives in a mobile home a few feet from Ford's. He was home when the fire started about 10 p.m. He heard crackling, he said, and looked outside.

"(Ford's mobile home) was just engulfed in flames," he said. "We walked outside and it was just so hot on our faces."

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Diamond's front door faces the rear of Ford's mobile home, where, he said, the bulk of the fire was.

He said Ford was a "nice lady," who often brought him free food for his dog. Diamond said Ford mostly kept to herself, and she was often inside since she split with her husband about six months ago.

He said he believed that Ford's daughter did not live there, but that she had been staying with Ford for about the past week.

"The fire, everything, just moved really fast," Diamond said.

Tax records show the mobile home is owned by Barval Corp. A phone call to Val Bristow, of Hagerstown, whose name is also on the tax records, was not returned Tuesday.

Stephen Bockmiller, development planner and zoning administrator for the City of Hagerstown, said the mobile home can be replaced with one that is the same size. It cannot, however, be replaced with a larger home, he said.

Hawbaker said the blaze was the first fatal fire of 2006 in the city. There were no fire fatalities in 2005 in Hagerstown.

Staff writers Marlo Barnhart and Daniel J. Sernovitz contributed to this story.

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