Clear Spring council members' home damaged by fire

December 12, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Firefighters were at the scene of a fire Monday morning at a house on Cumberland Street in Clear Spring. The house is the residence of two Clear Spring Town Council members.
By Dan Dearth/Staff Writer

Clear Spring Town Councilman Theodore Hovermale said he and his wife were sleeping in their Cumberland Street home when a beeping noise awoke them Monday morning.

Theodore Hovermale said his wife, Carol, also a member of the town council, thought the beeping sound was coming from the phone in their bedroom, so she lifted the receiver and put it back down.

When the noise persisted, she got up to see what was happening.

"The smoke detector was doing its job," Theodore Hovermale said. "She opened up the door to the bedroom next to ours and saw nothing but smoke."

The fire began at about 5:40 a.m., when combustibles ignited near a chimney on the second floor of the home at 145 Cumberland St., according to a Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office news release.

Theodore Hovermale said he believed the source was a plastic garment bag that was covering an item of clothing.

He said he replaced the batteries in the smoke detector last week. On Saturday, roughly 500 people visited the home, which was elaborately decorated for the holidays, during Christmas in Clear Spring.

The upstairs of the home was damaged by smoke, Hovermale said. He said he and Carol Hovermale plan to live on the first floor until the damage can be repaired.

The fire caused an estimated $4,500 in damages to the structure and $500 in damages to the contents, the fire marshal's office said.

About 35 firefighters from Clear Spring, Halfway, Hancock, Maugansville, Williamsport and Mercersburg, Pa., took roughly 10 minutes to get the fire under control.

Theodore Hovermale said the fire likely didn't spread because the brick walls of the 19th-century, two-story home kept the flames contained.

"The walls are solid brick ... The flames didn't come through," he said.

Cumberland Street, which is U.S. 40, between Martin and Mill streets was closed for more than two hours while firefighters were at the scene. The road was reopened at about 8 a.m.

Water from the firetrucks froze into patches of ice on the street.

The Hovermales' home is across the street from Clear Spring Town Hall.

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