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Authorities say 6-year-old playing with lighter caused house fire

February 23, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • A firefighter is framed by a broken-out window at the rear of a house on Patrick Road following Wednesday morning's fire.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — A 6-year-old boy playing with a lighter in a home at 11829 Patrick Road near Hagerstown caused a fire Wednesday morning that sent his grandparents to Meritus Medical Center, according to Maryland State Fire Marshal Deputy Chief Jason Mowbray.

Helen Stull was registered at the emergency room as of Wednesday evening, a hospital spokeswoman said. Her husband, Richard Stull, was discharged from the emergency room.

Mowbray said the boy was not injured, but he was taken to the hospital to be with his grandparents.

"He was playing with a lighter," he said. "There was no criminal intent."

No charges would be filed in the incident, he said.

Deputy Fire Chief Adam Hopkins of the Longmeadow Fire Department said at the scene that the man and the woman appeared to be suffering from minor smoke inhalation.

He said members of the Hagerstown Fire Department had to carry a bedridden woman from a downstairs living room area of the two-story brick and wood house.

When firefighters arrived, an upstairs bedroom was engulfed in flames, which were shooting into the hallway, Hopkins said.

"We were able to keep it contained in that area," Hopkins said.

Firefighters had to tear off smoking wooden siding from an upstairs wall to ensure the fire wouldn't spread, he said.

"We want to make sure it's out, and we're not coming back," he said.

The fire was reported at 7:25 a.m. It took firefighters about 15 minutes to get it under control after they arrived, Hopkins said.

The damages were estimated at $45,000 to the home and $5,000 to the contents, a fire marshal's office news release said. The Red Cross was called to help the family find another place to stay.

Patrick Road was closed to traffic from Jefferson Boulevard to Deborah Drive as firefighters sprayed water on the back of the house. Earlier, they used a chainsaw and hooks to remove wooden siding. Windows on the second floor had been broken out.

In addition to Longmeadow, firefighters from Maugansville and Hagerstown's Independent Junior Fire Co. were on the scene.

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