Tenants forced to look for homes elsewhere

February 24, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

BOONSBORO - Kindness has been a slight comfort for Susan Brubaker, who was burned out of her home by Friday's downtown fire in Boonsboro.

She had lived in an apartment at the rear of a building on Main Street for four years.

The building was one of several damaged by a fire that a state fire marshal has said started at the former Boone Hotel.

After a few free nights at a local hotel, Brubaker doesn't know where she will end up. She hopes to quickly find a new apartment she can afford.

"We'll make sure she has a place to lay her head," said her friend, Jeanne Ryan.

A regular customer at Classic Fuels at Lappans Crossroads, where Brubaker works, found her neighborhood, stopped in the middle of the road and handed her a $100 bill, according to Brubaker's sister, Jeani Sechler.


Someone else has donated a storage area.

Brubaker and other tenants spent part of Saturday figuring out what was salvageable of the items pulled from their homes.

But a man who lives in one apartment had nothing to sort through - he had lost it all.

The man, who asked that his name not be used, said he heard construction noise when he woke up Friday about 7:40 a.m.

He smelled smoke, put on his glasses, got dressed and stepped out of his apartment. When he realized there was fire, he went back for his wallet and his truck keys, but saw "a big orange glow."

"When I went back in, I came out," unable to grab anything inside, he said.

The man said he lived in the area only because his son lived nearby.

Now, he plans to go to Georgia to start again. He said he's a truck driver and will sleep at truck stops.

John Shank, who lived in another damaged apartment, heard the bad news Friday while at his job in Frederick, Md.

"My girlfriend called me and told me my house was burning ..." he said. "I was crying. I lost everything."

Shank said he had insurance coverage.

He pointed to the back of a pickup truck. Everything he had left - some pictures, some DVDs - was in it.

"I just got to go on," he said.

Brubaker said the upheaval is painful.

"I've gone through a divorce," she said. "Now, I'm going through this ... I'm feeling terrible. I'm stressed out."

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