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Wood Stove in Maryland Fatal Blaze May Be Studied

January 12, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fire investigators will ask the Consumer Product Safety Commission to examine a wood burning stove suspected of being the cause of a fire in suburban Maryland that killed six people, authorities said Sunday.

Montgomery County, Md., fire department spokesman Capt. Ray Mulhall said officials suspect the stove was the origin of the blaze that ripped through the 80-year-old frame house in Boyds, Md., Saturday morning. But he said they need more information to be sure.

″We don’t know enough of the characteristics of the stove to say, yes, definitely under certain circumstances it would explode,″ Mulhall said.

Mulhall said overloading, a build up of gases, something in the flue or other factors could have been the problem.

″We want them (the CPSC) to look at it and tell us under differenct scenarios, what do you think,″ Mulhall said.

Mulhall said while the stove is the focus of the examination, ″We are looking at everything - electrical wires, fragments of wood for any type of chemical.″

The fire killed six people, whom authorities identified as: Joan King, 32; Regina King, 11; Robert D. Barnhouse, 38; Glenn E. Barnhouse, 29; Michael Barnhouse, 19; and Samantha Seabolt, 2.

Samantha Seabolt was the daughter of Beverly Seabolt, 22, who was among several people injured and the only one to remain hospitalized on Sunday. She was listed in serious condition at the Washington Hospital Center with burns to her hands and smoke inhalation.

The fire, which did $75,000 in damage, was the worst in Montgomery County since 1953, when 13 people died in a nursing home fire.

Those who survived got out before firefighters arrived.

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