The Manchester Volunteer Fire Company, located less than 300 feet from Gray’s apartment, was dispatched at 11:49 a.m. Fire crews from Hampstead, Lineboro, Westminster and Pleasant Hill, Pennsylvania, were also dispatched.
“Next thing you know, boom, boom, boom, they’re knocking out the windows and squirting water,” Depalmer said.
A neighbor adjacent to Gino’s Barber Shop hurried Gray into her home, giving him fresh clothes and wrapping the shivering man in blankets.
Fire crews arrived to find smoke showing, said Manchester Chief Chris Horrigan, who led the firefighting efforts Wednesday.
“Crews went in and made a fire attack on the second-floor bedroom that was on fire,” Horrigan said. “The building is [equipped with a sprinkler system]. The sprinkler was activated. The sprinkler did its job. It kept the fire in check and we just had to knock it real quick and secure the sprinkler system.”
The firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in about 9 minutes, Horrigan said. “The fire was knocked at 12:04.”
“The damage is mainly the contents of a bedroom and very minor structural damage to drywall and window,” the chief added.
At around 1 p.m. burnt mattresses and other debris from the bedroom blaze were strewn about the sidewalk, as fire officials rolled up fire hoses and kept part of Main Street closed between York and Church streets.
In its investigation of the fire, the Office of the State Fire Marshal determined that “improperly discarded smoking material ignited bedding material,” according to a release from the Maryland fire marshal detailed.
The fire marshal estimated the fire caused $35,000 in damage and the home will remain unoccupied temporarily while restoration personnel make minor repairs and clean up, the release details.
Gray escaped the blaze with a spot on the side of his knee that he likened to a sun burn. He said he felt lucky to have been spared worse.
“I’m glad I didn’t get burnt,” he said from his new neighbor’s recliner, thanking her for “giving me blankets and warming me up.”