Fatal fire laid to kitchen stoveUsing a kitchen gas stove...

MARYLAND NEWSWATCH

March 25, 1992

MARYLAND: — Fatal fire laid to kitchen stove

Using a kitchen gas stove for heat may have caused a one-alarm fire that burned out an East Baltimore rowhouse and killed its owner last night, authorities said.

The victim, James Austin, 67, was a retired house painter and handyman who had lived in the three-story brick dwelling in the 1300 block of N. Caroline St. for nearly three decades. His former wife, two daughters, numerous grandchildren and other relatives live in adjoining homes.

Detective Richard Fahlteich, a police fire investigator, said the fire, reported about 6 p.m., appeared to be accidental. He said it began in the first-floor kitchen. "The stove was being used as an alternative heat source," he said. "All the burners and the oven were on."

Mr. Austin was found dead in a middle-room dining area, apparently from smoke inhalation, investigators said.

An explosion at a Cecil County fireworks plant destroyed a 10-by-20-foot building and caused one minor injury yesterday.

The explosion, the cause of which was not immediately known, occurred about 11 a.m. at New Jersey Fireworks on Md. 7 near Elkton, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.

Arundel County:

Annapolis' historic City Hall could be sold to the YWCA under a novel plan to keep the non-profit agency downtown while consolidating city offices.

Worried by the space crunch in the Colonial-era landmark, city leaders have proposed centralizing administrative offices in a five-story building owned by Annapolis Federal Savings Bank on Main Street. The bank would then take over City Hall and sell it to the YWCA, which also is looking for a larger home.

In unveiling the potential deal Monday, Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins emphasized that it would bring scattered government offices under one roof.

He said the city would retain its meeting room on the second floor, once a grand ballroom where George Washington danced at a party in his honor in 1783.

The YWCA now has its headquarters at 40 State Circle, across from the State House.

Baltimore County:

The Baltimore County Planning Board will hear public comment on the following development issues at its 7 p.m. meeting tomorrow in Towson:

* Adding almost 100 acres around Northeast Creek, a tributary of Back River and Chesapeake Bay, to the county's greenway system -- envisioned as a network of open space along stream valleys.

* Creating a new zoning category for recreational marinas and boat yards.

* Setting up a new "community business zone," which would favor smaller enterprises such as corner grocery stores, tailors and barbershops.

* Allowing churches with 1,000 or more seats to be built in light manufacturing zones as an alternative to constructing large buildings in rural conservation and residential areas.

* Creating a zoning amendment to allow private schools already situated in watershed areas to expand. The issue arose from a proposal by the Oldfields School in Glencoe to build an addition.

The meeting will take place in the County Council chamber at the Courthouse. Those who wish to address the board must register between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Carroll County:

In the budget that it passed last week, the state Senate has cut another $420,000 from money earmarked for a state Public Safety Training Center in Sykesville.

To plug holes in the state's operating budget, legislators have voted to transfer money from a special fund established for the project, which already has been delayed for several years.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer proposed allocating $1.12 million in his fiscal 1993 capital budget for the center, which would be a training site for law enforcement, correctional, and parole and probation personnel. The money would be used to design, repair and convert existing buildings at the 720-acre Springfield Hospital Center to training facilities.

Harford County:

Orioles fans won't have to fight traffic or search for parking when going to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, thanks to planned public transportation to the new stadium.

MTA express buses and MARC train service from Harford County to Baltimore will be available for every home game.

MARC trains on the Penn North route will depart from the Aberdeen and Edgewood stations approximately two hours before game time. Free parking will be available at both stations.

Trains are scheduled so fans can arrive at Oriole Park at least 20 minutes before games start.

Trains will terminate at Pennsylvania Station and passengers will transfer to the MTA's No. 190 shuttle bus for a ride to the ball park. Returning trains will depart 30 minutes after the game.

Express MTA bus service will be available from Park-and-Ride lots in Fallston, northwest of Harford Road, and Marywood, across from Rock Spring Shopping Center north of Bel Air. Two departures will be offered from each lot.

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