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Fire guts Waynesboro duplex

March 24, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Robert Brooks was putting together a puzzle on the floor with his 3-year-old son when he heard his neighbors' smoke alarms going off and saw smoke when he looked outside.

At first, Brooks thought his neighbors in the duplex were grilling, but then there was a knock on the door and he realized the other side of the house was on fire.

"I picked up my son and just ran out," Brooks said.

The fire reported just before 6 p.m. Thursday at 259 Ringgold St. gutted two rooms in that side of the duplex and damaged a second-floor bathroom of Brooks' side at 257 Ringgold St. The fire started in a pan as Krystle Peli made supper.

Both families were unable to stay in their homes Thursday night, and the American Red Cross made arrangements to provide diapers and formula for the 9-month-old daughter of Harry and Krystle Peli.

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"Everything I own is in that house. I just hope we can salvage baby pictures," Brooks said, while watching firefighters maneuver around a porch roof.

The personal effects of Brooks and his wife, Scarlet, were saved, according to Waynesboro Fire Chief Ron Flegel.

He said the kitchen and dining room of the Pelis' side of the house were gutted. The rest of their side was damaged by smoke, heat and water.

A neighboring single-family house, 261 Ringgold St., sustained exterior damage.

"It suffered some fire damage to the north side of the house adjacent to 259. Vinyl siding melts when it's exposed to heat," Flegel said.

He did not have dollar estimates for any of the damage.

Flegel credited the initial firefighters on the scene with minimizing the potential damage and commended the Pelis' fire preparedness.

"They had working smoke alarms. For a young couple, they were very well prepared. Not many are," Flegel said.

Both the Pelis and Brooks carried homeowners insurance, according to Flegel.

Robert Brooks said his family moved to Waynesboro from Frederick County, Md., in September 2005. The two-story, wood-frame construction Ringgold Street home is the first one owned by the couple.

Responding to the scene were the fire departments from Waynesboro, Blue Ridge Summit, Mont Alto and New Franklin. Waynesboro Ambulance Squad also was on the scene.

Leitersburg and Fountaindale fire departments served as transfer crews.

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