Three fires in Glen Burnie and one in Pasadena Friday night and Saturday morning left eight people homeless and kept firefighters busy throughout the early morning hours.
Lt. Gary Scheckells, fire department spokesman, said none of the fires were related. "It happens in spurts," he said referring to the hectic day. "Sometimes we'll go one week without any real fires and then it gets busy."
Three of the fires are still under investigation. Fire officials charged one man Saturday night with arson in connection with the fourth.
In one of the most severe fires reported, a one-story wood-frame home located in the 800 block of South Shore Avenue, Glen Burnie, was completely destroyed. Scheckells said the cause and origin of the fire has yet to be determined.
When firefighters arrived at the scene at 6:29 Saturday morning, the entire home was in flames, Scheckells said. A second alarm was called in at 7:30, bringing to 43 the total number of firefighters on the scene.
The home is owned by Melvin and Romana Stec; their son along with his wife and daughter also lived at the house, which suffered $200,000 in damage. Scheckells said no one was home when the fire broke out -- the family was away in West Virginia.
Another serious fire broke out just after midnight Saturday in the 7500 block East Howard Road, also in Glen Burnie. It took 24 firefighters nearly five hours to extinguish the fire, which destroyed a home owned by Wade and Tina DiScuillo. The couple was not home when the fire broke out.
Scheckells estimated damage at $165,000 to the home and contents and said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The origin is undetermined, he said. "We have not acknowledged or ruled out anything at this point," he said.
The third Glen Burnie fire broke out Friday afternoon at about 5:30 p.m. in an apartment in the 100 block of Sloan Drive. Nineteen firefighters battled the blaze for 23 minutes in the kitchen of the apartment.
The apartment's occupant, Brenda Smith, was not injured. Scheckells said he did not know if Smith was home at the time of the fire. He estimated damage to the apartment at $40,000. He said the cause of the fire is undetermined and is under investigation.
Early Saturday morning, firefighters in Pasadena were called to 3400 block of Marble Arch Drive, but the owner of the house, Uta Christine Miller, had put out the fire with a garden hose.
Scheckells said Miller was awakened by the smell of smoke, went outside and saw the exterior of her two-story home on fire.
Scheckells said Sunday that someone had poured a flammable liquid along the outside of the house and at the doorways. But not all of the liquid ignited, he said.
Fire investigators arrested Andrew Steven Miller, the estranged husband of Uta Miller Saturday night at Legend's nightclub, located at the intersection of routes 3 and 424. He was charged with arson -- a felony -- and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.
Scheckells said the couple is separated, but "we are not sure what caused" the fire. He said he did not know where Andrew Miller is living.
Damage was estimated at $200.