Cumberland Times-News

January 28, 2013

City woman, four children homeless after fire

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A woman and her four children escaped a fire that broke out in their residence at 464 Columbia Street before dawn Monday.

No injuries were reported in the 5:24 a.m. incident that left Trista Poole and her four children homeless. Emergency assistance was provided by the American Red Cross.

The blaze also damaged vacant buildings at 464 and 468 Columbia Street.

The properties are owned by Richard Hernandez.

Smoke detectors were present but it was not known if they activated to alert Poole and the children to the fire.

First-arriving city firefighters found fire coming from the first and second floor windows and the front door of 464 Columbia. The fire quickly spread through the two-story dwelling.

Thirty firefighters, under the direction of Cumberland Fire Department Captain Sam Wilson, extinguished the fire that caused about $70,000 in damages to the structure and $25,000 loss in contents, according to the department.

City firefighters were assisted at the scene by volunteer firefighters from Bowling Green, Bedford Road, Ridgeley, Cresaptown, LaVale and Wiley Ford.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by Lt. W. Shannon Adams, city fire marshal, and city fire Capt. Chris Ratliff.

Cumberland Police controlled traffic. Potomac Edison, Verizon, and Atlantic Broadband also responded to the scene, according to the Allegany County 911 center.

Late Sunday afternoon, city firefighters were called to the 200 block of Pear Street to extinguish a fire outside of a residence. Electrical service was disrupted in the apartment building occupied by Anna Otero and James Newcomb and his family.

The American Red Cross provided emergency assistance to the victims.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Damages were estimated at $5,000 to the building and $500 to the contents.

The property owed by Del-Del Allegany Properties and was insured. It was not known if the occupants had renters insurance.

A city police officer had reportedly extinguished most of the fire with his portable fire extinguisher before the arrival of firefighters.

Fourteen city firefighters handled the incident.

City firefighters also checked a reported collapse of part of an interior ceiling  in a rear  apartment in the 100 block of Park Street at about 8 a.m., Sunday.

An investigation determined no  one was injured and the incident occurred “due to a water leak,” said a fire department spokesman.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at