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Woman's body found after fire

Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker said autopsy results are expected sometime next week.

Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker said autopsy results are expected sometime next week.

August 26, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

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

Officials said they are continuing to investigate the fire at 65-67 W. Franklin St., across the street from the Hagerstown Post Office.

The body was found Friday about 1:45 a.m. on the second floor, Hawbaker said.

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

The body was taken to the Medical Examiner's office in Baltimore, and autopsy results are expected sometime next week, Hawbaker said. A cause of death was not determined.

Hawbaker said the apartment building, which is above an empty storefront, should have been vacant. It appeared that the deceased woman might have been living in the building illegally, Hawbaker said.

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Ronald Sheppard, who has worked at a food stand near the Hagerstown Post Office for almost two years, said he never has seen anyone go in or out of the building.

Nader Danesh Zadeh of McLean, Va., owns the building, Hawbaker said. Zadeh visited the building Friday afternoon, he said.

Zadeh could not be reached for comment Friday.

About 25 firefighters from all of the city's fire stations responded to the call. When the fire department arrived, "heavy fire" was coming out of the 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, Hawbaker said.

On Friday, glass in the second- and third-floor windows had shattered, and the bay window on the second floor was a blackened hulk.

Community Rescue Service, the Washington County air unit and the Washington County rehabilitation unit also responded to the fire, Hawbaker said.

The Hagerstown Fire Marshal's Office is the lead agency in the investigation.

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