2009-02-19 / Local & State

Sisters Killed In Hancock House Fire

STAFF REPORT

A house fire that claimed the lives of two sisters Monday night and destroyed a Hancock area residence is now under investigation as a possible arson.

A canine specially trained for fire investigations scoured the rubble of the home located at 220 Old Route 40 Tuesday morning in hopes of helping fire marshals determine where and how the fire erupted. The house occupied by Melissa Lindemann, Clarence Myers and Lindemann's 12- and 15-year-old daughters is a total loss.

911 dispatchers were alerted to the fire by neighbors at approximately 10:45 p.m. on February 16, resulting in around 75 firefighters from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia responding to the call for aid. The home was engulfed in flames at the time of the firefighters' arrival, but crews still attempted to reach the second floor where the girls were trapped.

Lindemann cut herself severely exiting the home by jumping through a first-floor window. Meanwhile, Myers suffered smoke inhalation after he reportedly tried to access the upstairs by climbing onto a back porch roof. Both were transported to Winchester Medical Center in Virginia after being stabilized.

The girls' bodies were taken to Baltimore to the office of the chief medical examiner for positive identification as well as autopsies to determine cause of death. The girls were enrolled in seventh and ninth grades. Crisis teams were scheduled to spend the day at the girls' schools to offer counseling services to students.

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