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Cause of George St. fire still unknown, but appears to have been unintentional

July 27, 2010

Hagerstown Fire Department officials are working with insurance agents to determine the cause of a July 16 fire that destroyed a home at 605 George St., according to a Hagerstown Fire Department press release.

Mike Weller, a spokesman for the fire department, said the cause of the fire, which started behind a clothes dryer in the kitchen, appears to have been unintentional.

The home was occupied by Douglas Shatzer Jr.; his wife, Cheyenne; and their three young children. The Shatzers were able to escape the blaze.

Four Hagerstown firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the fire, Weller said.

The Hagerstown Fire Department asks residents to observe the following safety tips:

o Have working smoke alarms on all levels of the home. Test alarms monthly and replace the entire alarm every 10 years. Hagerstown residents can receive free smoke alarms with long-life batteries by calling 301-791-2205.

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o Fire travels fast. Have a fire escape plan and practice it. If a fire occurs, exit without delay. Go to a prearranged meeting place and call for help. Do not go back into a burning building to retrieve anything.

o If you rent, consider purchasing renter's insurance.

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