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08.22.2008: 2 alarm house fire

On the afternoon of Friday August 22nd, Washington County Dispatch took reports from a passer by that flames and smoke were coming from the top floor of a house at 850 Northern Avenue. Emergency crews on BOX 27-4 were immediately dispatched out for a reported attic fire. Initial crews from Long Meadow, Maugansville, Hagerstown and Washington County Special Operation responded out on the assignment. A follow up call from Firefighter Matt Byard from Long Meadow reported fire showing and confirmed crews had a working fire. This message was relayed on and Deputy Chief Hopkins immediately requested the Working Fire Assignment.

As additional units were being toned out on Channel One, Captain Chris Turner from Company 27 arrived and confirmed that he had a two-story structure with fire showing. Captain Turner assumed Northern Avenue Command and Deputy Hopkins had fire attack operations. Firefighters on the scene were faced with high temperatures and heavy fire load during there initial arrival. As crews began to battle the blaze, fire was found on the first and second floor of the structure. Crews worked to control the blaze as Command sized up the situation seeing the need for fresh manpower. With this Command requested the second alarm assignment.

With a manpower pull of over 50 firefighters, crews worked to get the blaze knocked down and under control within 40 minutes from the time of the initial alarm. Crews worked for an additional half hour to conduct overhaul operations checking for further extension and knocking down hot spots as they were found. Fire marshals from Hagerstown initially responded to assist State Fire Marshals who were committed on a hostage situation in Hancock.

While crews began wrapping up, Fire Marshals Dehaven and Crist began their investigation and were later joined by FM Mattingly from the State Fire Marshals Office. The Fire Marshals worked together and found the cause to be from a Heat Gun being used by painters earlier in the day. No one was home at the time of the blaze. The damage to the home has been estimated to be around $50,000. One firefighter was checked out by EMS on the scene but not transported.

Captain Turner was able to begin releasing units from the incident at 14:46 hours that afternoon. From that moment on crews slowly worked to wrap up operations and additional units were released per Command. Captain Turner terminated Command at 16:29 hours and released all remaining units from the scene at that time.

Companies responding on the initial Box 27-4 consisted of Long Meadow Fire Co.27, Maugansville Fire Co.13, Antietam Fire Company Engine 2, Washington County Special Operations 20, and Hagerstown Utility 3. Engine 4 from Hagerstown Western Enterprise was automatically started as a supplement for an undermanned Engine per a new policy in Washington County. Once requested, Leitersburg Fire Co.9 along with Community Rescue Service Co.75, Emergency Air Unit 25 and Rehab Unit 255 were started on the working fire assignment. As the incident continued, the second alarm was struck bringing in Funkstown Fire Co.10, Independent Juniors Engine 3, Greencastle Fire Co.3 from Franklin County, Western Enterprise Truck 4 and Paramedic 759 from Community Rescues substation in Maugansville. Along with units committed on the scene, a fill-in crew from Halfway Fire Co.26 responded to Maugansville to stand-by for Maugansville. Rescue Engine 272 from Long Meadow who was on the Hancock incident returned to their first due to cover as well while crews were committed.


This story was written and provided by William King EMT-B who is a seinor correspondent with 1st Responder News. Read more at

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