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Westminster family displaced in 1 of 2 area fires


A Westminster family was displaced yesterday afternoon in a one-alarm fire, while later a kitchen fire filled a Harney home with smoke.

The Westminster blaze, which started about 2 p.m. at apartment A-3 at the rear of 31 Sullivan Ave., was contained about 10 minutes after firefighters arrived.

"I just smelled smoke, and when I came out people were running around and saying to get out," said Robert Tighe, who lives above the burned apartment.

"The fire trucks got here about five minutes after we got out," he said.

Firefighters from Westminster, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Manchester and Winfield responded to the call.

The apartment, rented by 23-year-old Cheril Lynn Brown, was extensively damaged and deemed unsafe by county building inspector Dusty Freeman.

Officials said yesterday afternoon they were unsure where Ms. Brown and her two children, ages 2 1/2 and 9 months, would be spending the night.

"There's no structural damage, but there were electrical wires burnt and the electricity was turned off in that apartment [after the fire]," Mr. Freeman said.

The apartment in front of Ms. Brown's and the two above hers had smoke damage, said Jay Nusbaum, chief of the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department.

"The fire was mainly in the bedroom [of A-3]," he said.

"It was coming out the back window when we got here, but we got it stopped real quick."

Firefighters kept the flames in the bedroom, he said.

They then pulled down parts of the drywall and siding to make sure the fire hadn't crept into the walls.

No one was injured in the blaze, Mr. Nusbaum said.

State Fire Marshall Frank Rauschenberg was still investigating the cause of the fire, and officials were not able to provide a damage estimate last night.

Later, about 5 p.m., companies from Harney, Taneytown, Emmitsburg of Frederick County and Barlow of Adams County, Pa., responded to a kitchen fire on the 6000 block of Conover Road in Harney.

Emergency operations officials said the fire filled the home with smoke.

After containing the blaze, firefighters checked inside the walls to be sure it was completely out.

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