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Town house fire displaces 35

May 22, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- About 35 people were displaced from their homes after fire broke out in a town house Thursday on Doub Way across from South Hagerstown High School, a Hagerstown Fire Department official said.

The blaze in the Southview Townhomes development off South Potomac Street caused the rupture of two natural gas meters, which spewed gas and flames at the front of the home, Capt. Brian Pile said.

Flames from the broken gas meters were reaching the roof of the townhouse and it looked like "two giant blow torches," Pile said.

No one was hurt and a dog and cat were rescued, Pile said.

The development's management company was trying to find the displaced residents other units, Pile said.

The front of the townhouse at 104 Doub Way, where most of the damage occurred, was charred and vinyl siding around it was melted.

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It was unclear what started the fire, which caused a minimum of $250,000 in damages, Pile said.

There are six townhouses in the unit where the fire occurred and Pile said that that none of them is inhabitable. A building inspector looked at the unit Thursday night and was concerned the center of the structure might be weak, Pile said.

A neighbor said a woman and her newborn live in the house at 104 Doub Way but she did not believe they were home at the time.

Amy Ray, who lives across the street at 139 Doub Way, said she was in her kitchen when she noticed a shadow outside from the smoke.

Ray went outside to see what was happening.

"The whole thing was in flames. That's when I called 911," Ray said.

Misty McCoy, who lives in a town house next to the one that was charred, said her fiancé and their three children were inside sleeping in their house when the fire started.

McCoy said her fiancé apparently heard commotion outside, looked out and saw the fire.

He got the couple's children out of their house and called McCoy on the telephone at her job at First Data Corp., McCoy said.

"He kept screaming on the phone that the house is on fire," McCoy said.

A volunteer firefighter from Funkstown who was passing by the fire shortly after it started went to the scene to make sure everyone was out of the homes affected, Pile said.

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