Thursday, July 31, 2008

Girl listed as ‘stable’ after Brunswick fire

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A Tuesday afternoon fire left a Brunswick family’s house ruined and an 11-year-old girl in critical condition, more than 450 miles from home.

By Wednesday afternoon, Ashley Beachley’s condition had been upgraded to ‘‘stable,” according to Kathy Golden, a spokeswoman at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, Mass.

Beachley sustained third-degrees burns to about 50 percent of her body during the fire, and was airlifted to the Boston facility after being flown to Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., for initial treatment.

The fire, which started at about 9 a.m., Tuesday, engulfed the home at 206 Seventh Ave., in Brunswick by the time firefighters arrived minutes after being called, according to Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services public information officer Michael P. Dmuchowski.

When they arrived, the fire was prohibitively large, forcing firefighters to extinguish it from outside the house, he said.

Two other people were injured in the fire: 12-year-old James Travis Jr., and Ashley’s 65-year-old grandmother, Florence Beachley. Travis was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Florence was taken to Washington Hospital Center and treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns.

A total of five people were in the house at the time of the fire, most of whom escaped through second-floor windows after smoke alarms went off, Dmuchowski said; no firefighters were hurt on the scene.

The fire, which investigators say started in the basement of the home, caused an estimated $150,000 of damage, according to a Maryland State Fire Marshal report.

When asked how the fire started and whether arson had been ruled out, Dmuchowski simply said the fire is ‘‘still under investigation.”

About 75 firefighters from a total of 43 fire companies showed up from Frederick County, Washington County, Loudon County, Va., and Jefferson County, W.Va., to help put out the fire.