Cumberland Times-News

December 11, 2012

Frostburg victims ‘lost everything’ in Saturday fire

Jeffrey Alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— FROSTBURG — Bernard and Christine Ferguson had lived in their ground-floor apartment at 14 Broadway for less than a year before fire of an undetermined origin swept through their residence Saturday evening.

The couple escaped — but not without suffering burns and smoke inhalation.

The clothing on their backs at that time they fled their fire-filled dwelling are the only possessions the couple own.

“Bernard is doing better but he is still in the hospital in the intensive care unit. He suffered bad burns to his back and his face. Christine is out of the hospital and was treated for burns to both arm,” said Oldtown resident Genene Updike, who is Christine’s aunt.

Updike told the Times-News that Bernard, 42,  and Christine, 31, were under doctors’ care prior to the fire. She said they rely solely on disability income.

“They lost everything in the fire — all their clothes, furniture, bedding, food they were trying to stock up on. They lost their cat that they think it is still in the building somewhere,” said Updike.

It was at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when fire erupted in the living room of the Ferguson residence. The couple was able to escape the raging fire on their own power but not before suffering burns and smoke inhalation. “They were very fortunate to get out of the fire,” said Updike.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. The investigation is continuing.

Investigators would like to hear from anyone who may have been in the area and may have information relating to the early stages of the fire.

The building at 14-16-18 Broadway contained three apartments and housed a field office of the Braddock Construction Co. and the Triangle Printing Co. The property is owned by Patrick Atkinson.

Preliminary losses in property were estimated at $50,000 to the two-story structure and $7,000 to its contents, according to the fire marshal’s office.

The fire was confined to the Fergusons’ apartment. However, smoke and water damage occurred throughout the building.

More than 40 volunteer firefighters from Frostburg and allied companies battled the fire. First-arriving units found flames shooting from the front and side sections of the brick building located at Broadway and Mechanic Street, just off Main Street.

Tuesday, the Fergusons remained in need of a two-bedroom apartment, preferably at ground floor level. Their clothing needs include ladies 5X size and men’s pants size 42-32, Updike said.

Christine Ferguson is presently staying with a relative and awaiting the release of her husband from the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center just after the incident.

The Ferguson family has been contacted by the American Red Cross to provide them with emergency assistance.

“So far we have assisted four people in that apartment building. They all had somewhere to go to stay after the fire and we provided financial assistance according to their specific needs,” said Doug Lent, regional director of the Chesapeake Region of the American Red Cross.

Anyone wishing to provide help to Bernard and Christine Ferguson may call the family at 301-478-5855 or 240-362-7358.

Lent said the Red Cross may be contacted in Cumberland at 301-722-1760 or 410-624-2082.

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at