Boy, 3, playing with matches implicated in apartment fire

October 18, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

The five-alarm fire that rendered two apartment buildings in the Greentree complex uninhabitable Thursday, leaving 23 families homeless and causing about $1 million damage, was the result of a boy playing with matches or a lighter, county fire officials said Friday.

Capt. Gary Sheckells, department spokesman, said the 3-year-old was playing in a closet of a first-floor apartment of the complex off Crain Highway in Glen Burnie as the adults slept.

When the fire started, the boy closed the closet door and went back to bed, Captain Sheckells said.

"Because so much in that area was destroyed, it is hard to tell exactly what he was playing with inside the closet when the fire started," he said.

And because the fire was hidden for so long, it "had a chance to intensify and build before anyone knew about it," Captain Sheckells added.

It spread quickly to the second- and third-floor apartments at 8041 Winding Wood Road, across the roof and then to the four-story building next door. Firefighters were called at 10:30 a.m.

All 12 apartments at 8041 Winding Wood Road and eight of the 16 apartments at 8043 Winding Wood Road have been condemned by county officials.

The remaining apartments are livable, Captain Sheckells said, but "the gas and electric is shut off so no one can live in them."

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