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Fire damages apartments, displaces several residents

By Staff | Mar 3, 2017

Fire destroyed several apartments at 74 Pheasant Ridge Court just west of Shepherdstown in the early morning hours Sunday.

Marshall DeMeritt, emergency medical services chief for Shepherdstown’s fire department, said the call was dispatched at 3:04 a.m. for a building fire with fire showing and possible entrapments. The call drew multiple units from several neighboring jurisdictions to assist Shepherdstown’s company in battling the blaze. Firefighters arrived from Jefferson as well as Berkeley County and Washington County, Maryland.

While there were reports of at least one minor injury to a resident, the 10 apartments’ occupants evacuated safely overall.

The American Red Cross was called to assist 20 people with shelter, but it appears that between 10 and 15 ended up being without a home, according to reports from a Shepherdstown Fire Department official.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is under investigation by the West Virginia state fire marshal’s office.

DeMeritt said that firefighters remained on scene for approximately three and a half hours to search for hot spots and doing some clean up after the blaze was extinguished.

Two of the three affected apartments on the second floor of the two-story apartment complex were destroyed, DeMeritt said. A third apartment on the top floor and three on the first floor had water and smoke damage, he said.

Two firefighters received minor injuries during the incident, with one of those being transported to the hospital. Details of the injury were not available. The second firefighter refused transport.

Approximately 50 firefighters were on the scene to combat the fire, DeMeritt said. Firefighters and/or EMS responded from Shepherdstown, Bakerton, Independent, Baker Heights, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg and Blue Ridge Mountain companies in West Virginia; and from Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, Potomac Valley and Fairplay in Maryland.

The Washington County Air Unit and Rehab Unit also responded.