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Officials Investigate Fatal Fire at Main Street Thrift Shop

The Spare Room thrift shop is operated by the Westminster Rescue Mission.

Police are investigating an early Tuesday morning fire at a thrift shop operated by the Westminster Rescue Mission at 30 West Main St in Westminster. A deceased homeless woman's body was found in the fire at the back of the building, according to a police report.

Deputy State Fire Marshals, Maryland State Police and the Westminster Police Department are participating in the investigation.

At approximately 1:49 a.m. the Westminster Fire Department responded to the one alarm fire at the rear of the thrift shop structure and quickly located the remains of a body and clothing effects burning on the rear dock of the building, according to a police report.

Although the fire was quickly extinguished, the victim was determined to be deceased on the scene, according to a police report.

The cause for the fire remains under investigation. Damage to the structure is considered to be minimal. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine identity and cause of death.

The article was updated at 10:45 a.m. to reflect that the fire took place at the thrift shop owned by the Westminster Rescue Mission and not at the Westminster Rescue Mission itself which is located on Lucabaugh Mill Road.

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Mike B January 08, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I think Kim did a wonderful job updating this story to keep it as accurate as possible. She does a great job always.
Maryanna Plenger Wilcox January 09, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Have they released the name of the women killed? I have worked with many homeless people as well as being homeless myself this past year and fear it is a woman that I know. Praying for her family.
Gabrielle Donnald January 09, 2013 at 11:51 AM
My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
David from VoxPop January 09, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Very fishy. Wondering if a darker motive is at work. I guess we'll have to see what investigators find.
Kym Byrnes (Editor) January 09, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Here is the follow up story. Sad all around. http://westminster.patch.com/articles/officials-rule-fatal-fire-outside-westminster-thrift-shop-an-accident
David from VoxPop January 09, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Sad indeed. Thanks for the update.
Michele Field January 10, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Not many people will mourn the loss of Paula Mae Carlisle. I doubt many knew her name. She walked the streets of Westminster in a long dusty pink coat & a baseball cap. She was kind & gracious & her life was hard. At Shepherd's Staff, she was given new clothes on a regular basis (her own clothes were so bug infested, they couldn't be salvaged), a place to shower, some food, & always compassionate companionship. I remember watching her doze in a chair in the waiting room, praying for her, & thinking what life could have been like for her as a homeless woman & what circumstances brought her to the place of having nowhere to call home & no security & peace & comfort to call her own. I pray we all take a moment to pray for our homeless & consider what we can do to make someone else's life less miserable. I knew her only a short time, but I am changed by the experience. I pray she knew Jesus Christ in a personal way & that she will never know hunger or cold again. RIP Paula.
Agape Ministries COGIC January 10, 2013 at 07:30 PM
I've been told that it was a lady named Paula. She would come visit our church regularly.

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