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Woman's body found in fire

August 25, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

The body of an unidentified woman was found early this morning when firefighters responded to an apartment fire downtown, Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker said.

The body was found at about 1:45 a.m. on the second floor of 65-67 W. Franklin St., said Hawbaker.

"All we know is it's female," Hawbaker said.

The body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office in Baltimore.

Hawbaker said that the apartment building, which is above an empty storefront, should have been vacant.

It appeared that the deceased woman had been living in the building illegally, Hawbaker said.

About 25 firefighters from all of the city's fire stations responded, Hawbaker said.

When the fire department arrived, "heavy fire" was coming out of second-floor windows, Hawbaker said.

Firefighters knocked down the fire in 10 to 15 minutes, he said.

Because the fire was advanced, and the building is connected to other buildings, half a block of downtown could have been destroyed if firefighters hadn't acted quickly, said Hawbaker.

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At the scene this morning, a Hagerstown Fire Department vehicle was parked in front of the brick building as officials investigated.

Glass in the second and third-floor windows had shattered and the bay window was a blackened hulk.

Community Rescue Service Inc., a Washington County air unit and Washington County rehabilitation unit also responded, Hawbaker said.

The Hagerstown Fire Marshal is the lead agency in the investigation, but could not be reached for comment this morning.

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