Victim of fatal fire identified

July 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Fire officials on Thursday identified the man who died Monday in a fire at 1922 Dual Highway as Nathan Dennis Babb.

Autopsy results show Babb died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns, Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph Zurolo said in a news release.

Babb, 32, was pronounced dead at the scene Monday morning.

The fire was determined to be accidental, Zurolo said. He said authorities believe Babb was smoking in his bedroom and ignited combustible materials.

The combustible materials "could have been anything," Zurolo said.

John Snyder reported the fire at about 7:40 a.m. Monday. He was at the property, which is owned by his parents, to retrieve some materials he needed to do some plumbing work.


Before firefighters arrived, Snyder broke down a side door, and yelled and whistled to try to get the tenant's attention.

Babb was the only person in the house, which is split into an upper and a lower apartment, at the time of the fire. Firefighters found his body in a second-floor bedroom.

The fire was contained to the upper floor, although other areas of the house were damaged by smoke and heat.

Firefighters spent Monday morning shoveling trash outside the upper apartment.

They used pitchforks and shovels to toss trash, including empty plastic Diet Coke bottles, rum bottles and Tostitos bags, out of an upper window. The trash fell in a giant heap below.

Firefighters said the trash was piled 3 or 4 feet high throughout the apartment.

Babb had moved into the apartment four years ago, and promptly paid rent every month, one of his landlords said Thursday morning.

The woman who lives in the downstairs apartment said Monday that Babb had been a loner, but had never been a problematic neighbor.

A smoke alarm was found in the apartment where the man died, but its battery had been removed, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said in a news release.

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