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One Dead, Seven Hurt In Martinsburg Fire

January 1, 1994

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) _ A man who was badly burned in an apartment building fire died Thursday, and authorities said they suspected arson.

Seven other people were injured in the fire Wednesday night. One man leaped from a second-story window and another was on fire when he rolled down a flight of stairs, witnesses and authorities said.

The fire occurred on the second floor of the brick building, which included four apartments above a used-furniture store, said fire Capt. Phil Martin.

Romano Elizan, 29, died at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., said Christie Markham, a hospital administrator. Markham said Elizan had been burned over almost 100 percent of his body.

Officials said someone apparently poured a flammable liquid onto the hallway floor and down the steps leading to the building’s entrance.

Timico Johnson, who lives nearby, said: ″I happened to look up and I saw this big ball of fire come out of the back porch.″

Johnson said he stood on a refrigerator outside the building in a parking lot and caught three children who jumped from the second-floor windows.

Shirley Slatton, another neighbor, said she saw a man jump out of a second- story window. ″He was completely burned,″ she said.

Another victim ″came rolling down the stairs on fire,″ said Tina Bell, who lives nearby. ″I grabbed somebody’s coat and put him out.″

Six of the injured remained hospitalized Thursday. One was listed in critical condition. The seventh was treated and released.

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