Keymar family left homeless by fire

January 24, 1995|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

A family of six was depending on the Red Cross to find a place for them to sleep last night after a three-alarm fire late Sunday night extensively damaged their Keymar home.

"Soon it will be turning cold, and I'll be standing here," said David L. Wolfe and he stared at the home in the 800 block of Francis Scott Key Highway. "Soon it will rain, and I'll still be standing here."

The owner of a 1908-vintage trainmaster's house near the railroad tracks in Keymar stood in the driveway and gazed at his home of 17 years the day after firefighters spent seven hours extinguishing the fire.

"The house is gone, but the worst part is the insurance company dropped my coverage about three months ago," said Mr. Wolfe.

A representative of his insurance company visited the house and said the building was too old to have its insurance continued, Mr. Wolfe said.

Mr. Wolfe and his family, including his mother and brother, escaped without injuries, but he said they have no permanent place to stay. They accepted temporary shelter from a neighbor while the Red Cross looked for another place for them to stay, he said.

"We lost everything," Mr. Wolfe said as he stared at the piles of clothing and furniture tossed out of the two-story structure built as the trainmaster's house and train station for the old Western Maryland Railroad.

The building has a large, enclosed porch facing the railroad tracks now used by the Maryland Midland Railway Co. It sits about 100 yards from the highway.

Mr. Wolfe said he and his family returned from visiting relatives in Winchester, Va., about 8:30 p.m. After replacing a headlight in his car and watching television for a short time, Mr. Wolfe prepared for bed.

"I looked out of the second floor bedroom window and everything was red," said Mr. Wolfe, a truck driver for F.O. Day Paving and Excavation Contractors in Frederick County. "I ran outside and saw the flames coming out the window of my son's room, and I went back inside to get my mother and brother, who were both in their bedrooms upstairs."

Mr. Wolfe said his wife was still watching television and that she called 911 as he returned to the second floor for his mother, Mary Frances Keith, and brother, Charles Leslie "Pete" Wolfe. His son Michael was in the kitchen feeding the cats.

Units from Union Bridge, Taneytown, Harney, New Windsor and Winfield in Carroll County were joined by units from New Midway, Woodsboro and Libertytown of Frederick County and Littlestown of Adams County, Pa. The first alarm was sounded at 9:20 p.m.

Fire officials said the cause of the blaze is being investigated. The fire apparently started in a closet in Michael Wolfe's room near the interior chimney of a wood stove, Mr. Wolfe said. Damage to the structure and contents is about $50,000, he said fire officials told him.

Before firefighters could bring the blaze under control, the attic collapsed into the structure. Firefighters spent hours removing old plaster from the inside walls to extinguish hot spots.

Fire officials said one firefighter received a minor injury but could furnish no additional information. Traffic on Route 194 was blocked while firefighters battled the blaze.

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