Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 2, 2013

Greene Street fire ruled accidental; blaze displaces family of five

CUMBERLAND — The Sunday night fire that destroyed a rental property of Heather Dignan and her four children at 842 Greene St. has been ruled accidental, according to the Cumberland Fire Department.

None of the occupants — Dignan, three males ages 23, 14 and 12, and a 6-year-old girl — was at home when the fire began at about 10:45 p.m.

Neighbors discovered the blaze and called 911, prompting 25 firefighters to the scene for the fire operation directed by Cumberland Fire Capt. Chris Ratliff.

“The fire has been ruled accidental. The cause was wires arcing and shorting out,” said Cumberland Fire Marshal Lt. W. Shannon Adams, who conducted the investigation.

Damage to the property owned by the Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission through the county commissioners was estimated at $50,000 to the two-story structure and $15,000 to its contents. The property was insured. However, there was no insurance on the tenants’ property.

First-arriving units reportedly found heavy fire throughout the house and in the basement.

Cumberland firefighters were assisted by the Ridgeley (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department. Bowling Green Volunteer Fire Department stood by at the city fire headquarters along with off-duty city firefighters called to service to man reserve equipment.

Firefighters controlled the blaze in about 25 minutes.

Smoke detectors were operating inside the residence when the fire broke out, Adams said.

Cumberland Police assisted at the scene. City water department personnel, Columbia Gas and Potomac Edison crews also responded.

Cumberland Fire Chief Donald Dunn said the Dignan family lost all of its possessions to the fire.

“They lost everything,” said the chief.

The Dignan family is staying with relatives in the city.

Anyone wishing to provide assistance to the family may call 301-268-2286. Immediate assistance was provided by the American Red Cross.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at

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