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Damage from Splendor View Terrace house fire estimated at $250K

No one injured

neighbor describes 'surreal' scene

June 10, 2011
  • The charred remains of an automobile can be seen in the garage of a home on Splendor View Terrace that was destroyed in a fire Thursday night.
By Caleb Calhoun/Mobile Journalist

HAGERSTOWN — Damage was estimated at $250,000 in a Thursday night fire at a house at 20377 Splendor View Terrace southeast of Hagerstown, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office.

It took 60 firefighters about 90 minutes to control the blaze, which was reported at 11:04 p.m.

There were no injuries, according to an emailed report by Deputy Fire Marshal Edward L. Ernst.

Efforts to determine the cause of the fire were continuing, according to Ernst.

The fire, discovered by a neighbor, started in the roof area, Ernst said in the report.

Several neighbors saw the fire as it was happening.

David Reed, who lives across the street with his wife, said he stayed up all night watching the blaze.

"I first heard a major storm, and then I looked outside and saw a major glow coming from their roof," he said. "I was just hoping (the homeowners) weren't here, and I'm grateful they weren't because all this can be fixed."

Ellie Lowe lives down the street from the house with her husband and their four children. She said they all watched the house as it was on fire.

"We looked out the window, and it was surreal," she said. "Luckily, the fire engines were already on their way."

Lowe's 18-year old daughter, Kristen, took a picture of the fire.

"The flames were as huge as the house," she said.

Tyler Lowe, 14, said he could smell the smoke from his house.

At the end of the street, Joan Wiater says she saw everything burning and watched it all night.

"I was up until 3:30 (a.m.) watching the fire, and I was very worried that they were in the house," she said. "It was a blessing they weren't hurt because you can replace things, but you can't replace people."

Neighbors said there was a major storm and a lot of lightning in the area prior to the fire.

"The sky was lighting up, and the thunder was enormous," Wiater said.

Damage to the single-store wood frame housed owned by Walter and Teresia Kerr was listed at $200,000 and to the contents at $50,000, according to Ernst.

Personnel responded from Funkstown, Mount Aetna, Halfway, Boonsboro, Hagerstown, Smithsburg, Leitersburg, Long Meadow, Maugansville, Williamsport, Sharpsburg and Frederick County Station 10 Thurmont fire departments, as well as Special Ops. 20, Community Rescue Service and the Air and Rehab unit.

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Splendor View Terrace is off White Hall Road, between U.S. 70 and U.S. 40.

Fire on Lyles Drive

Earlier Thursday, firefighters responded at 10:29 p.m. for a house fire in the 18300 block of Lyles Drive in the St. James area south of Hagerstown, a 911 dispatcher said.

The fire had been extinguished by the time the call came in Thursday, the dispatcher said.

It was believed that lightning struck a dryer, the dispatcher said.

Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. was the primary responder, a dispatcher said.

— Mobile Journalist Caleb Calhoun contributed to this story.

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