Three cars were destroyed by an arsonist early Saturday morning in the Clemens Crossing section of Columbia, a state fire marshal said.
The cars, which were parked in residential areas along Shady Grove,Fair Oaks and Schoolmaster Place, were apparently set on fire between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., said Robert B. Thomas Jr., a spokesman for the fire marshal's office.
A flammable liquid was poured across the exterior of the cars andignited, Thomas said. The cars -- a 1981 Plymouth, a 1988 Mercury and a 1991 Mazda -- were owned by Columbia residents.
No motive has been determined and no suspects have been identified, Thomas said. County police are assisting in the investigation.
The state fire marshal's office is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist.
Anyone with information about the crimes or who may have noticed anything unusual in the Clemens Crossing neighborhood late Friday or early Saturday is asked to call the fire marshal's tip line at (800) 492-7529.
MECHANICAL INCIDENTS INJURE 3 LABORERS
Three laborers were injured Monday during two separate accidents involving heavy equipment, county rescue workers said.
The first accident occurred at 11:15 a.m. on a U.S. 40 road work site, when a small bulldozer toppled over and nearly crushed its driver, Ronald Meyr, 35, of Stevensville, rescue officialssaid.
Meyr was driving the bulldozer along the shoulder just eastof North Ridge Road when the vehicle overturned, said Michael Gearhart, a rescue services spokesman.
"(Meyr) started rolling down the hill, and the 'dozer was rolling right behind him," Gearhart said. Meyr eventually rolled down a ravine and into a ditch, with the bulldozer apparently headed for the same spot, Gearhart said.
"But for some reason, a very insignificant-looking tree stopped the 'dozer when it crashed into it," he said. "It's amazing, because the man would have been crushed if it weren't for that little tree."
Meyr, an employee of Island Builder Services in Queen Anne's County, suffered a fractured pelvis and was hoisted out of the ravine with ropes and a rescue basket, a rescue report said.
He was discharged yesterday fromthe Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
At 3:30 p.m., two men operating a cement mixer at a construction site on Steamboat Landing Road in Columbia noticed that the heavy vehicle was drifting backward down an embankment, rescue officials said.
One of the men, Richard Beverungen III of Sykesville, was pushed into a cement foundation by the vehicle, a rescue report said. He suffered chest and rib fractures, as well as internal bleeding, the report said.
Beverungenwas listed in serious condition yesterday at the shock trauma center.
The other worker, George Darnall Jr., 53, of Randallstown, suffered a minor back injury and was treated and released from Howard County General Hospital.
5 ELLICOTT CITY TEENS CHARGED WITH ARSON
FiveEllicott City teen-agers have been charged with setting fires in Dumpster trash bins outside two local schools, county police said.
The juveniles, three age 16 and two age 15, were arrested Wednesday andThursday after a jogger helped identify them as the culprits, policesaid.
Three of the juveniles were spotted by the jogger at 11 p.m. last Wednesday outside St. John's Lane Elementary School, at 2960 St. John's Lane, where they allegedly set fire to a Dumpster at the edge of the parking lot.
The jogger ran to his nearby car and began following the three suspects, who were driving a Ford Bronco, police said. He persuaded the youths to pull over and then summoned police on his car phone.
Police said the youths were arrested at the scene. The suspects are also believed to have committed another arson at aDumpster earlier that night at Mount Hebron High School, at 9440 OldFrederick Road in Ellicott City, police said.
Two other juvenileswere arrested Thursday in connection with the same two fires, policesaid. Each has been charged with two counts of malicious burning anddestruction of property.
All five suspects have been released to the custody of their parents. Fire damage in both cases was limited to the Dumpsters, police said.