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88-year-old victim of house fire dies

It's not clear if Delbert G. Summerville died from injuries from the fire or from a medical condition

February 23, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

An 88-year-old man who was rescued Tuesday from a fire in a single-story home on The Terrace died Wednesday afternoon at Meritus Medical Center, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst.

Ernst said it is still unclear if Delbert G. Summerville died from injuries from the fire or from a medical condition.

Ernst said Wednesday afternoon that he talked to officials at Meritus Medical Center and it was not known if an autopsy was going to be performed on Summerville to determine the cause of death.

Longmeadow Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Jason Eckstine said firefighters got a call at 10:16 a.m. Tuesday that a man was trapped in the basement of a burning home in the 12800 block of The Terrace, which is just north of Hagerstown city limits. He said snow and ice that covered some roadways slowed their arrival, and the fire was spreading quickly when they reached the home.

Summerville was found in cardiac arrest near a basement door at 12809 The Terrace when firefighters arrived at the scene.

He was given cardio-pulmonary resuscitation before being taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and first- and second-degree burns.

Summerville and his wife were home when they saw smoke coming from the basement, the fire marshal's office said. As Summerville tried to find the cause of the smoke, his wife called out to him and didn't receive an answer, officials said. She went to a neighbor's home to call 911.

Eckstine said firefighters had to make a forced entry into the home. The man's wife was outside when firefighters arrived and refused to be taken to the hospital, Eckstine said.

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(Editor's note: This story was edited Feb. 24, 2011, to correct the age of the victim.)

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