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Accidental fire causes $900,000 in damage at ThompsonGas

April 15, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Firefighters work to ventilate smoke through the roof at ThompsonGas in Boonsboro Wednesday afternoon.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

BOONSBORO -- A fire caused about $900,000 in damage to a ThompsonGas building at 6708 Old National Pike on Wednesday, the Maryland state fire marshal's office said.

The fire was determined to be an accident, Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst wrote in a report. An electric exhaust fan malfunctioned and ignited wood framing, his report says.

About 60 firefighters from Maryland and West Virginia helped put out the fire.

Oley Griffith, chief of The First Hose Co. of Boonsboro, said heavy smoke was coming from the building when a crew arrived shortly after 3:45 p.m.

Firefighters then saw fire and smoke in the ceiling, he said.

A second alarm was sounded, sending more crews to the scene.

Ernst wrote that it took about an hour to control the fire.

No one was injured, but the building had "significant damage," his report said.

Griffith said Washington County employee Rich Gaver condemned part of the building.

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ThompsonGas and Ace Hardware are at that address.

Griffith said the building houses a hardware store and the gas business.

The section of ceiling that burned is near an office and a warehouse, he said.

Besides Boonsboro, fire companies from Sharpsburg, Myersville, Middletown, Funkstown, Fairplay, Mount Aetna, Rohrersville and Wolfsville assisted on the call.

Ladder trucks from Williamsport and Shepherdstown, W.Va., also responded.

Other responders, according to Griffith and Ernst, included Boonsboro Ambulance, Smithsburg EMS, Community Rescue Service and the county's air, rehab and special operations units.

Last month, Hagerstown-based ThompsonGas announced that it would become the 19th-largest retail propane operator in the United States because subsidiaries were purchasing three other companies.

At the time, J. Randall Thompson, the company's president and CEO, said ThompsonGas serves about 28,000 customers in the Tri-State area and has more than 100 employees in the mid-Atlantic region.

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