The City Fire Marshal’s Office—following confirmation resulting from autopsies conducted by the State Medical Examiner—is releasing the identities of those who died in last week’s triple fatal fire at 320 Linganore Avenue in Hagerstown. Those who perished in the February 24 fire were Rodney Francis Brady, Jr., 36; Hailie Elizabeth Conte Smith, 16; and Tarin Lei Mae Durham, 12. The Hagerstown Fire Department (HFD) extends its condolences to the family.
City Fire Marshal Dale Fishack reiterated today that while progress has been made in determining the cause of last Wednesday’s fire, he expects the investigation to pinpoint it to be a lengthy one. Fishack said smoke detectors were present, and at least one was working. Additionally, thanks to videos and photos submitted to his office by the public, Fishack said he believes the blaze started on the first floor of the house.
While HFD is grateful for the public’s response to its request for videos and photos, the department reminds everyone to prioritize their actions when a fire is detected. Without exception, the first thing anyone spotting a fire should do is to call 9-1-1 to report the fire. Anyone who discovers a fire should never opt to take pictures and video of a fire before making that critical call. According to Fishack, examination of the time-stamped cell phone photos and videos his office has received indicate the fire got an “unusual head start” due to the lag time between initial documentation of the fire and the first call to 9-1-1.
HFD was in the neighborhood on Saturday conducting an after-fire visit with residents that included reminding them that, at a minimum, smoke detectors should be placed outside each sleeping area in a structure and on each floor. State law requires the use of smoke detectors with 10-year batteries. HFD installed 18 free smoke detectors in neighborhood residences during visits to more than 50 homes in the area where they conducted smoke detector checks, provided fire safety information, and discussed last Wednesday’s fire.
The Fire Marshal’s Office continues to accept video and photos of the fire scene. Materials can be emailed to email@example.com or uploaded using the link on the Hagerstown Police Department’s Facebook page to Evidence.com.