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Lewes, Delaware
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May 10, 2005     Cape Gazette
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May 10, 2005
 

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12 - CAPE GAZETTE, Tuesday, May 10 - May 12, 2005 Firefighters battle blaze at Harbeson crime scene Agencies work together to preserve evidence By Kerry Kester Milton Volunteer Fire Depart- ment was dispatched to 18724 Harbeson Road at 4:22 a.m. Chief Lynn Rogers was the first firefighter to arrive, at 4:27 a.m., and Deputy Fire Marshal Woody MaGee was close on his heels. Rogers said more than 30 fire- fighters from his department, ap- proximately 25 from Georgetown Volunteer Fire Company, 23 from Indian River Volunteer Fire Com- pany and more than 20 from E1- lendale Volunteer Fire Company reported to the house that was ful- ly engulfed on the second floor. The Fire Marshal's Office has not yet released information per- taining to the cause of the fire or where it started. "There was a gas can on the back deck," said Rogers, although he noted he did not know whether gasoline was the confirmed causative agent for the blaze. Members of the State Fire Mar- shal's Office, the Bureau of Alco- hol Tobacco and Firearms, Delaware State Police Homicide Unit, Sussex Emergency Medical Services and the state Medical Examiner's Office all arrived shortly thereafter, said Rogers. He said handling fire scenes that are also crime scenes requires a different approach to firefighting. "You approach every fire as life first, then property," he said. "This was a case where you had a crime scene that became a house fire. You have to fight it to pre- serve everything for the investiga- tion. You very delicately, cau- tiously do your fire suppression, so there's no disturbance of the evidence." Rogers said when it is a hard working fire, such as was the case in Harbeson, additional rescue workers are needed because fire- fighters sometimes can stay inside for only five to 10 minutes. "Be- ing in a fire like that is like being in a boxing ring for five minutes," he said. Because of the toll the heat takes on flrefighters, the fire department has a rapid interven- tion team. "They stand readied in case a roof collapses. Their job is to go in for a rescue." Rogers said the roof did collapse, but because the house was so well built, it caved only to the attic floor. The departments also set up a rehabilitation and triage center at every fire scene, so when fire- fighters leave the scene they can immediately be checked and treat- ed as necessary. No one was in- jured during the fire. Rogers said after the fire was knocked down, investigators from the various agencies went inside Hank Haas photo Numerous agencies worked together to extinguish the blaze at the home where two people were murdered and the house set on fire. Because the home was a crime scene, firefighters had to approach putting the fire out differently than they would if no crime was involved. for preliminary assessments., even though there were still spot fires and smoldering areas. "As they come in and take photos and do their superficial-investigation, we work it a little at a time," said Rogers. Although firefighters put the flames out quickly, they re- mained at the scene for several hours to get the blaze completely under control and ensure there were no smoldering areas that would reignite. 1-800-473-7971 302-537-3679 www.c0astalsunr00ms.c0m THE ONLY SUNROOM OF ITS KIND IN DELAWARE! I ADD VALUE TO YOUR IlOME! ! DELAWARE'S 4 SEASON SUNROOM SPECIALIST i s4O I s41t) } SI,rinkg ./t:Sr, ite I A,,y Plum!,in,] Repair teserttlniscldat imefsel ce I Ple:elatthsad Itlimo{seI',ice -- --educe breakdowns tside -seBig---- il "Increase efficiency ' Faucet Repairs li 15 Point Check Water Heaters Service agreements available Air Conditioning Plumbing Heating Serving all of Kent & Sussex Counties 302.645.6336 II .... lIUllIIIILiICensIedI&I,ISIUI I I I I il SAVE SAVE s40 s40 Spring A/CService Any Plumbing Repair S109 value 569 Oispnlch fee of $29.50 additional Pleserlt this old at time ol seI,.'ice Pleseit this m(I (It lime o{ sei',ice Awesome - Sundays 8 am - 2 clay & S, l ur I," I] J 11 ( : W00D. XH08$. Th- a. cn.,,, $1.75 H.gh Ufe Ughts