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Fire damages 100-year-old home on Baumgardner Road

Fire swept through the family home of a member of Christian outreach band Willet on Monday afternoon, significantly damaging a home that was more than 100 years old.

Jeremy Willet, lead singer of Willet, said he and his wife had just purchased the home on a farm on the 2600 block of Baumgardner Road in May, bringing the property back in the family after more than a decade under a different owner.

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“The farm has been in our family for many generations,” he said. “We’ve endured many hard times — including tornadoes and the loss of family members, things like that. We will continue to do what we always do, which is to stay close as a family, trust God through it and become stronger on the other side.”

Willet was recently involved in the Sept. 27 One Million Meal Celebration at Westminster Baptist Church, packing meals to help alleviate hunger overseas.

No one was inside the home at the time of the fire and no one was injured, said Charles Simpson, a spokesman for the Pleasant Valley volunteer fire company.

Firefighters were still working on extinguishing hot spots as of roughly 3 p.m., Simpson said, but called the fire under control as of 2:37 p.m. The house is a brick and wood structure with a tin roof and well over 100 years old, he said, noting that the age of the home and the distance up the driveway made fighting the fire “labor intensive.”

Maryland property tax records indicate the home was built in 1900.

As of 3:15 p.m., the Office of the State Fire Marshal had yet to be able to enter the home to begin an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire, said fire marshal’s office Lt. Sander Cohen, but he expected the investigation to begin before the evening hours.

The initial call came at 1:23 p.m. and the first unit was on scene at 1:34, Simpson said. A second call for the tanker task force was requested at 1:38 p.m.

More than a dozen pieces of equipment were on the scene from Pleasant Valley, Hampstead, Harney, Manchester, Taneytown, New Windsor, Reese, Union Bridge and Westminster volunteer fire companies, as well as companies from Littlestown, Pa., and Frederick County, Simpson said, with between 50 and 60 firefighters and other personnel responding to the scene.

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