One person taken to hospital after Mitchell Ave. fire

Fire marshal credits smoke detectors for alerting residents to blaze

December 30, 2011|By DON AINES |

HAGERSTOWN — A Hagerstown fire marshal credited working smoke detectors with alerting eight people to a fire early Friday morning in a house on Mitchell Avenue.

One person, a 43-year-old man who was in the basement where the fire apparently started, was taken to Meritus Medical Center in serious condition with "complications due to an existing medical condition," according to a city news release.

The man's condition apparently was aggravated by smoke inhalation from the blaze, Hagerstown Fire Chief Kyd Dieterich said.

The fire at 471 Mitchell Ave. was called in at 3:16 a.m. The first firefighters on the scene found heavy smoke coming from the house and fire in the basement, the release said.

The fire damage was contained to one room of the finished basement, and there was moderate smoke and water damage to the rest of the house, Dieterich said.

The residents of the house were offered emergency assistance, but declined, saying they had help available through family and neighbors, said Bob McEnroe of the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire, but believed it was accidental. Smoke detectors sounded throughout the house, allowing the residents to get to safety, the release said.

"This is a testament to the importance of making sure your smoke detectors are working in your home," Hagerstown Fire Marshal Doug DeHaven said in the release. "They did their job."

More than 20 city firefighters were at the fire scene until shortly after 6:30 a.m., the release said.

Anyone with questions about testing their smoke or carbon-monoxide detectors can call the Hagerstown Fire Department at 301-790-2476.

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