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Smoldering fireworks blamed for fire that destroyed home

July 06, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
  • This photo taken from a cell phone shows firefighters battling a blaze Tuesday morning at a home on Shalom Lane in Black Rock Estates east of Hagerstown.
Photo by David Manganaro,

Smoldering fireworks caused a blaze that resulted in $1.3 million in damages to a house at 11006 Shalom Lane in Black Rock Estates east of Hagerstown early Tuesday.

Maryland State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said the spent "ground-based sparkling devices" were put into a plastic trash can near the house and next to a gas grill, which did not explode but helped the fire spread.

The fire "traveled up the side of the house and across the roof," Ernst said.

Damage to the two-story brick house was estimated at $1.3 million, according to Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Dave Fraley.

He said 60 firefighters from across the county spent more than two hours extinguishing the blaze, which was reported at about 2:45 a.m. Tuesday.

"We arrived on the scene with fire through the roof," Fraley said. "We immediately called for a second alarm."

Fraley said low water pressure in two fire hydrants in the housing development hampered efforts to battle the blaze.

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He said one fire hydrant was putting out 25 pounds of water per square inch and another was putting out 30 pounds of water per square inch.

"These hydrants were just not doing the job," said Fraley, adding that fire hydrant pressure ideally should be about 90 pounds per square inch.

Fraley said flames were too severe inside the building for firefighters to enter. As a result, they used ladder trucks to pump water into the house from above. He said firefighters sprayed nearby houses with water to prevent the flames from spreading.

Next-door neighbor Silvia Carroll said the noise of the arriving firefighters caused her to awaken at about 3 a.m.

"When I came out of my room, I saw the flames coming out the windows," she said. "It was kind of scary."

On Tuesday morning, the inside of the house was gutted. The roof was burned off and a tow truck was removing two vehicles from the garage.

Empty fireworks canisters could be seen on the front yard.

Fraley said the American Red Cross was called to assist the family with temporary housing, but he said he believed they were staying with relatives.

Two adults and two children were home when the fire started, Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office spokesman Bruce D. Bouch said.

None of the occupants was injured, Fraley said.

The house is owned by Hanif Rashid and Afridi Memoona Rashid, according to Maryland tax records.

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