Fire chief: Cause of Hampshire Street fire undetermined

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
The cause of the fire that gutted this Hampshire Street home in Piedmont remains officially undetermined, according to the Tri-Towns Volunteer Fire Department.

PIEDMONT - The cause of the April 7 fire that completely gutted a Hampshire Street home in Piedmont and resulted in the injury of one firefighter on the scene has yet to be determined.

Tri-Towns Volunteer Fire Department chief T.J. Bradley told the News Tribune Monday that investigators have received contradictory comments on how the fire is believed to have started and the blaze continues to be investigated.

“We got two different stories, but the official report is undetermined at this time,” he said.

In a press release to local media, Bradley added that the blaze is not being considered suspicious.

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The fire, which was reported at 48 minutes after midnight on the morning of April 7, started in the area of the furnace, according to the father of one of the occupants.

Mitchell  Lupis told the News Tribune later that morning that the fire had started in the furnace unit, and although his son William had clothes on a rack drying by the furnace, they did not start the fire.

Susie Clark, who owns the property with husband Dale, told the News Tribune, however, that they had never been notified of a faulty furnace.

“What is in the fire report is that the dryer had not been working for some time so they had hung clothes on a rack above the open flame in-floor gas furnace and fell asleep,” she said. “They woke up to the smoke detector going off and the fire.”                                                                                                                                                                    

Bradley would neither confirm nor deny the information, saying only that the cause was still being investigated.

According to the press release from the Trii-Towns Fire Department, it took approximately 60 firefighters an estimated 20 minutes to get the fire under control. Units remained on the scene for three hours.

The injured firefighter was treated on the scene and did not require transport.

Along with Tri-Towns, companies from Potomac (Westernport), Barton, Bloomington, Good Will (Lonaconing), Midland, Frostburg, Keyser, Fountain, and Rawlings responded to the scene, as did Tri-Towns EMS. New Creek VFD stood by at Tri-Towns fire station throughout the duration of the incident.      

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