UPDATE: Cigarette starts Hagerstown apartment complex fire, per investigators


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — UPDATE: The Fire Marshal said the cause of the fire was an accident. It started on an outside balcony on the second floor after someone tried to throw a cigarette after smoking. Detectives said the fire spread along the wall, before it reached the roof of the building.

The Fire Marshal added the fire alarm and sprinklers were activated, but the water couldn’t get to the outside of the building.

As of late Tuesday night, the Fire Marshal estimates damages from the fire to add up to about three million dollars. The final amount will be determined by insurance companies.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating what led to a fire at Rosewood Village Apartment Complex on Tuesday around 11 a.m. that left dozens of people displaced.

Residents told WDVM reporters on the scene that the fire alarm started going off around 11 a.m., followed by smoke filling the halls. One resident, Patsy Hays, said, “It scared me to death.”

Hays and other residents evacuated the building and watched as smoke and flames tumbled out of their homes. Hays said, “I wasn’t even able to get my keys, my jewelry, anything.”

Other residents said they also rushed to get outside. “We ran out as soon as we could, but we couldn’t go out the back door like we normally do,” explained Nancy Bragg. “We had to go through the front because the backside of the house, things were starting to fall down from upstairs where the fire had been,” she added.

A neighbor, Jeff Burnett said, “I grabbed whatever I could my wallet…my keys. Started downstairs and as soon as I opened the door, the hallway was full of smoke.”

The fire department says no one was hurt. Kevin Lewis with Washington County Emergency Services said, “We’ve been very lucky based on the volume of fire when the crews arrived.” Lewis said multiple crews “aggressively attacked” the flames. He said, “We were able to keep it from maybe about 50 percent of the apartments that were inside the structure.”

People living in the building said they are thankful everyone is safe. Burnett said, “Thank God for that. The rest is replaceable.” Bragg added, “You can replace the items, our lives we can’t. We’re just thankful we’re out, safe and we’re just going to have to find a place to stay for now.”

Lewis said multiple agencies are working to determine ways community members can help the people who were displaced.


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