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Fire displaces residents of Hagerstown apartment building

February 12, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - Residents of seven Cannon Avenue apartments have been displaced after a Monday morning fire, Hagerstown fire and code officials said.

Damage from the fire was limited to one third-floor apartment, but water and electricity have been disconnected from the entire 216 N. Cannon Ave. building, Hagerstown Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Myers said.

The fire started at about 10 a.m. between the third-floor ceiling and the floor of the attic, Myers said. A resident noticed smoke coming from the ceiling and called 911, he said. The building was evacuated and firefighters were able to put the fire out within 20 minutes, Myers said. Firefighters were on the scene for an hour and a half, he said.

"It was a tough fire to get to because it was in the ceiling," he said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation by the Hagerstown Fire Marshal's office, Myers said.

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The city has ordered the building closed until necessary repairs are made, Hagerstown Code Administration Director John Lestitian said.

"We want to make sure the building's safe before any residents return," he said.

Lestitian did not know how long the repairs would take.

The Red Cross of Washington County was at the scene to help displaced residents find temporary housing, Director of Disaster Services Mike Mowen said.

The Red Cross is providing food and shelter for eight people from two families in the building, Mowen said. Other residents were able to make arrangements to stay with family or friends.

The 15,774-square-foot apartment building is owned by Franklin Turner of Turner Enterprises, according to property records from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Staff writer Marlo Barnhart contributed to this story.

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