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Halfway residents displaced by blaze

May 30, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

A fire broke out Monday afternoon at Halfway Manor Apartments, forcing four people to evacuate a burning apartment before about 40 firefighters arrived to contain the blaze, Volunteer Fire Co. of Halfway Chief Jeff Ringer said.

The 3:19 p.m. blaze caused about $75,000 in damages to the 17421 Fair Oaks Court apartment and its contents, but the fire did not spread to nearby apartments, Ringer said. It took about 10 minutes for firefighters from Halfway, Williamsport, Funkstown and Maugansville to get the fire under control, Ringer said.

He said that the apartment buildings are "very well built." He said it would take about four hours for a fire to burn through to an adjoining apartment, provided the fire does not travel from window to window.

The fire Monday appeared to start in the living room, but its cause was still under investigation Monday afternoon, Ringer said.

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Stephanie Zullinger, 22, arrived at her sister's apartment about 3 p.m. and found her sister-in-law, Lakima Neal, 21, cleaning.

"I heard this loud pop. I looked around and I didn't see anything," she said. "Then, I saw that the couch was on fire. I tried to pull the couch away from the wall and then I saw the wall was on fire."

Zullinger said they tried to throw water on the couch, but instead decided to get out. She said she helped round up the people in the house and the group made sure their neighbors got out.

Neal said she was cleaning with Clorox and hopes that she didn't spark something.

"I sprayed it. Maybe it leaked against a socket," she said.

She said that all of her belongings were on the second floor of the apartment and she hoped they weren't damaged.

The Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting the residents.

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