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Middletown Transcript
  • UPDATED: One dead, two injured in Townsend-area house fire

  • One person was found dead and two others – including a firefighter – were injured in fire that destroyed a Townsend-area home Saturday night.
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  • One person was found dead and two others – including a firefighter – were injured in fire that destroyed a Townsend-area home Saturday night.
    The fire began in the ranch-style, single-family home at 708 Money Road just after 11 p.m., according to fire officials.
    The charred remains of a man later identified as 46-year-old resident James B. Wallace were discovered inside the home once the blaze was extinguished.
    A woman who also had been in the house managed to escape and was later treated for smoke inhalation at Christiana Hospital, where she was listed in good condition, fire officials said.
    Neighbors said they believe the woman was Louise Melvin, Wallace's girlfriend and the owner of the home.
    "They're nice people, but they mostly kept to themselves,"said neighbor Alex Burawski, who works for GateHouse Media, the Middletown Transcript's parent company.
    Burawski said he was awakened by the commotion as firefighters arrived on the scene sometime before 11:30 p.m.
    "They were pouring water in the front door, but they also seemed to be concentrating on a bedroom at the rear of the house," Burawski said. "Both of them were heavy smokers, but I don't know if that's what caused it. It's just really sad. They had just come back from a camping trip only a couple of days ago."
    No smoke detectors were found in the home and state fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the blaze as of Wednesday.
    A firefighter suffered a knee injury while battling the fire when an interior wall collapsed trapping him inside, firefighters said.
    The man was removed from the scene and later treated and released from Christiana Hospital.
    A total of 15 fire departments responded to the fire, which caused an estimated $150,000 in damages and rendered the home uninhabitable.

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