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Middletown Transcript
  • Officials identify man killed in Townsend house fire

  • The state medical examiner's office has identified the man killed in Saturday night's fatal house fire near Townsend as 46-year-old James B. Wallace.
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  • The state medical examiner's office announced today that the man killed in a house fire near Townsend has been identified as James B. Wallace.
    The body of the 46-year-old resident was discovered in the ranch-style, single-family home at 708 Money Road after firefighters extinguished fire, which was first reported just after 11 p.m. on June 29., according to fire officials.
    His death has been ruled an accident, while the fire remains under investigation.
    A woman who managed to escape the burning home was later treated for smoke inhalation before being released from Christiana Hospital, fire officials said.
    Neighbors said they believe the woman -- who has not been officially identified -- 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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