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Three people displaced by Chambersburg apartment fire

February 15, 2008

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Three people were displaced by a Wednesday night fire in an apartment house on Philadelphia Avenue, said William Dubbs, acting chief of Chambersburg Emergency Services.

The 11:44 p.m. fire started in the upstairs apartment of Richard and Thelma Mackey at 548 Philadelphia Ave., Dubbs said. Fire was coming out of the windows of the enclosed rear porch by the time firefighters arrived, he said.

Thelma Mackey awoke to go to the bathroom, noticed the smoke and escaped from the apartment, Dubbs said. Her husband was at work, he said. There was a smoke detector in the apartment, but it was not functioning, he said.

Fire damage to the porch, kitchen and hallway of the apartment was extensive with smoke damage throughout the other rooms, Dubbs said. There was minor smoke damage to the downstairs apartment of Shelly Strayer of 550 Philadelphia Ave., he said.

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State Police Fire Marshal Jeffrey Sarver and Dubbs inspected the scene Thursday. The likely cause of the fire was a malfunctioning piece of heat tape wrapped around a waterline to a washing machine on the back porch, Dubbs said.

The Mackeys were put up in a hotel by the American Red Cross, Dubbs said. Strayer stayed with a relative, he said.

The Franklin, Marion, New Franklin and Fayetteville fire companies assisted Chambersburg, along with the Letterkenny Fire Department and the Franklin County Emergency Air Unit, Dubbs said.

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