Cigarette lighter blamed for fire in living room NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

January 29, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

A fire, apparently started when a disposable cigarette lighter was dropped into a pocket of a coat hanging on a wooden rack, caused extensive damage to the living room of a Taneytown house yesterday.

Todd Davis, 28, of the 200 block of E. Baltimore St., said, "I just got home from work and was dropped off about 4 p.m. I went inside the house to get my coffee mug and walked to Sheetz [a gas station-convenience store] for coffee.

"When I walked back I couldn't get in the front door because of the fire, and I ran back to call the fire department."

Taneytown Fire Chief Jim Salley, who was first on the scene, said, "I heard the alarm on my pager and jumped into my pickup truck and came right here. The Taneytown medic unit had pulled up, so I grabbed their fire extinguisher after putting on my helmet and turnout gear and went inside."

Chief Salley said, "I was able to see most of the fire was on the coat rack behind the door and was able to get most of it out before the engines arrived. They came in and watered down the area around the coat rack and opened up windows on the second floor and the attic to let the smoke out."

Mr. Davis, an electrical worker who is installing street lights at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, said, "I don't smoke in the house, so I went outside as soon as I lit my cigarette and put the lighter in the coat. Maybe it stayed on."

Mr. Davis' wife and two children were not at home.

Frank Rauschenberg, deputy state fire marshal, also responded to investigate the blaze, which brought firefighters from Taneytown, Harney and Frederick County.

Standing in the living room of the damaged house, part of a duplex, Mr. Davis pointed to the remains of a lounge chair just inside the door and said, "That's my Christmas present from last year."

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