Arnold * Broadneck * Severna Park

CENTRAL COUNTY --

February 03, 1993

Barbecue coals blamed for fire in Severna Park

Hot coals from a barbecue grill that blew over during a windstorm Monday morning caused a fire that heavily damaged a Severna Park home, a fire spokesman said.

A family of four escaped without injury, but four of the five cats living in the home in the 300 block of Gordon Ave. died. The fifth was seriously injured.

Damage was estimated at $80,000 to the two-story home and $70,000 for the contents. "Virtually all their contents were destroyed," said Capt. Gary Sheckells, a Fire Department spokesman.

Captain Sheckells said the family held a Super Bowl party Sunday afternoon and was cooking on the barbecue grill. He said the owner of the home, Peter Robey, covered the grill -- which was on an upstairs wooden porch -- at the end of the evening.

Sometime during the early morning, wind blew the grill over on the upstairs porch, spilling the hot coals, Captain Sheckells said.

About 6 a.m., Mr. Robey's wife woke up and saw flames outside her bedroom window. She, her husband and their two children, a boy and a girl between 9 and 13 years old, safely escaped.

Captain Sheckells said the fire spread from the porch up the sides of the home to the roof, which was nearly engulfed when firefighters arrived shortly past 6 a.m. It took 24 firefighters nearly two hours to bring the blaze under control.

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