JOHNSVILLE — A furnace malfunction apparently caused a one-alarm fire that gutteda home in this South Carroll community Tuesday afternoon.
No one was injured in the blaze on Gibbons Road, said Richard Lyons, chief of the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department. Six units from Sykesville, Gamber, Winfield and Reese responded.
Lyons said the fire in the wood-frame house was knocked down in about 10 minutes, but firefighters spent the better part of an hour cooling "hot spots."
He said it was not clear whether the problem was a back-fire or some other mechanical failure.
"Back-fires are common in furnaces in older homes," he said. "But most of the time, they are contained in the furnace unit itself."
Lyons added that homeowners should have heating systems inspected regularly to help prevent such malfunctions.
MAJOR CRIME UP 17%
WESTMINSTER -- Despite a 24 percent decrease in violent crimes, major crime in Carroll increased by 17 percent last year over 1990, state police said last week.
Major crimes registering an increase during 1991 are murder, with six homicides, a 500 percent increase from 1990's single murder; and robbery, with 34 reported in 1991, a 48 percent increase from 1990's 23 robberies. Theft reports numbered 2,464 in 1991, an increase of 27 percent over 1990; and 185 motor vehicle thefts were reported in 1991, a 35 percent increase from 1990's 137 cases.
Major crimes that decreased last year in Carroll include rape, down to 24 cases from 1990's 32 cases; aggravated assaults, which were down to 90, a 39 percent decrease from 1990's 147; and breaking and enterings, which were down to 623, a 3.4 percent decrease from 1990's 645cases.
Overall major crimes in Carroll numbered 3,426 last year, up from 1990's 2,926. Those numbers reflect all crimes reported by all police agencies in the county.
Statewide, police said major crimes increased 8 percent in 1991. Major crime in the Baltimore metro area increased 9 percent, while the Washington suburban area recorded a7 percent increase in crime last year.
ELKS GIVE MONEY
The Westminster Elks Lodge 2277 donated $2,000 to the third annual countywide drug summit as part of the Elks' Drug Awareness Program, said Robert Kirkland, chairman of the program.
"We know there is a need; this money can be used toward any of the program expenses," he said.
Thedrug summit gathers middle and high school students from throughout the county to talk about drug and alcohol abuse. The program is sponsored by a student committee chaired by Andy Smith from North Carroll High and is made up of representatives from all county high schools.
DEPARTMENT EARNS TROPHY
The Carroll County Sheriff's Department was presented with a marksmanship trophy by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The plaque was presented to Sheriff John H. Brown by a team of firearms instructors who teach safety courses through the Sheriff'sDepartment.
It was this team of firearms safety instructors -- mostly volunteer sheriff's deputies -- who represented the county in a competition among police agencies throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania. The team won third place in the competition.
Firearms instruction is available to the public through the Sheriff's Department.
CHESNEY GOES HOME
HAMPSTEAD -- The 26-year-old Baltimore County police officer beaten in a night attack on a deserted road last week was released from the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit at University Hospital in Baltimore.
Darryl J. Chesney of Hampstead was beaten with his own flashlight during a traffic stop Tuesday night in northern Baltimore County. He was struck repeatedly in the head by two men who fled north in a stolen late-model Chevrolet.
Chesney wasflown to Shock Trauma, where he was given nine stitches to cover a gash over his eye. A manhunt for the attackers continued Friday night,and police agencies in 13 East Coast states were on the alert for the stolen 10-year-old beige Monte Carlo.
Chesney, an officer in theCockeysville Precinct, has been with the county police department for five years.
JUDGE IS OFF THE CASE
WESTMINSTER -- Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. was formally removed from the case of a Westminster man accused of threatening to kill Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr.
In a brief hearing Wednesday, Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold granted a motion filed by attorneys for Charles Gerard Aiken III asking Beck to be removed from the case.
Beck had agreed to step aside, but because Aiken's motion included charges of impropriety, misconduct and bias, another judge was required to act on the request.
Aiken was charged in May with making a threatening phone call to Burns at home and with telling his sister that he wanted to "off the judge," court records show. Aiken's former wife was at one time represented by Beck's former Westminster law firm and worked as a secretary there, court records show.
Arnold now is scheduled to hear the case -- expected to be a jury trial -- at a later date.
KIDS WIN POSTER CONTEST