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Child accidentally sets Church Street fire

Two adults and four children were displaced by the fire and will stay with family members

December 20, 2010|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Firefighter Ed Shindle with City of Hagerstown Truck No. 4 vents the roof at 542 Church St. during the house fire Monday afternoon.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — A fire accidentally set Monday afternoon by a child playing with a lighter damaged a second-floor room of a house in the 500 block of West Church Street in Hagerstown, leaving a family homeless, according to the city fire marshal and the Washington County Red Cross.

The fire at 542 W. Church St. was called in at 12:25 p.m., a Washington County 911 dispatcher said.

There were an adult and three children in the house at the time the blaze was reported, Hagerstown Fire Marshal Douglas DeHaven said.

One of the children came downstairs and told the mother that there was a fire in a bedroom, DeHaven said.

It was later determined the 5-year-old set the fire by accident, he said.

The family had a fire escape plan and carried it out, meeting in the backyard, he said.

There was substantial damage to the second floor and attic which left the house uninhabitable, he said.

The house also had working smoke detectors, DeHaven said.

No one was injured in the fire, which drew units from all the Hagerstown Fire Department stations, along with firefighters from Funkstown, as well as the Community Rescue Service, the county Air Unit and county Rehab Unit.

Two adults and four children were displaced by the fire and will stay with family members, said Mike Mowen, director of emergency services for the Red Cross. The Red Cross provided clothing and food to the family, he said.

Firefighters cut a hole in the roof of the building and tore off siding around the window to get at any fire that had spread into the walls. Smoke was still drifting from the house an hour after firefighters arrived.

Firefighters cleared the scene at 4:09 p.m., DeHaven said.

Mowen said gift cards could help the family purchase necessities. Anyone interested in contributing can arrange to do so by calling the Red Cross at 301-739-0717, he said.

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