On This Day in FFD History

May 4, 2016 Events  No comments

13130907_1377575472268301_3861300760874215085_oReprinted from the Cumberland Evening Times – May 4, 1984, Page 11
Jeff Alderton, Times-News Writer


Fire Originated On First Floor; Appears Accidental In Nature

Two Frostburg State College students died in a fire which broke out in the off-campus residence about 3 a.m. Friday, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

George Eusebius Hylind, 21, of 6412 Hollins Drive, Bethesda and Michael Millard Crouch, 19, of 9919 Old Spring Road, Kensington, were pronounced dead at the scene by Allegany County Coroner Dr. Paul Snow. The State medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore scheduled autopsies for later in the day. The victims were taken to Memorial Hospital, Cumberland by Frostburg Ambulance before being transported to Baltimore.

“The fire originated on the first floor. An investigation is continuing and the fire appears to be accidental,” stated Robert Shimer, Assistant Chief Deputy Fire Marshal.

Allegany County Civil Defense Emergency Center reported a “911” call was placed to the center at 2:54 a.m. informing of them of the fire at 158 East College Avenue, located about five blocks from the FSC campus.

Two other students who reside in the two-story wood frame swelling managed to escape to safety. Matthew Dunigan of Bethesda and Mike Kesler of Potomac, managed to escape the deadly blaze, according to Guy Carola, Deputy State Fire Marshal, who is the primary investigator for the fire marshal’s office. Another student, William Adams of Severna Park was not home at the time of the fire.

“The tenants were all asleep. They woke up to the smell of smoke to find the house full of smoke and fire. Dunigan came out a second floor window while yelling for everyone to get up while Kesler was on the first floor, yelling in an attempt to wake the other,” said Carola at the scene about five hours after the fire began. Carola said one victim of the fire was found in a rear bedroom on the second floor and the second victim was found in the kitchen next to a sliding glass door and adjacent to a cellar entrance door.

The building, reportedly owned by Joesph T. Sacher, of Newark, DE, is reportedly managed by Elliot-Mackay agency. It contained three bedrooms and a bathroom on the second level and living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath on the first floor. According to Carola, tenants informed him the residence was equipped with a smoke detector although investigators were unable to locate it. “Damages were very extensive. We estimate the loss to be in excess of $50,000,” said Shimer, concerning the first fatal fire in Allegany County this year.

Shimer noted the fire marshal’s office in the past two weeks have begun inspecting off-campus housing units to check for the presence of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. “We have no regulating control on this type of housing. The units are not required to be licensed by the state or the city of Frostburg. We are only able to identify the student housing units through cooperation of the college. Once we get in to inspect, they must comply with safety codes.’ Shimer explained.

Flames were reportedly shooting up the front of the structure when firemen arrived on scene. “When we saw it, it was just one big blaze,” commented a neighbor who resides across the street. The blaze brought the Frostburg Fire Department along with units from Shaft and Clarysville.

Mr. Crouch was born in Washington and graduated from Holy Redeemer Grade School. During his years at St. John’s, he lettered in football four years and was a member of the wrestling team. He attended Gettysburg College for a year before transferring to Frostburg State where he played Rugby.

Mr. Hylind was a native of Bethesda and a 1981 graduate of Walter Johnson High School where he played varsity football. He had been an altar boy at St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesda, and was a graduate of the church’s school. He had participated in Catholic Youth Organization sports. At Frostburg, he was a junior majoring in business administration.

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