Police charge 2 teens with Owen Brown arson Several trash bins are set on fire

July 18, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

Howard County police arrested two teen-agers from Columbia after a short chase Friday morning and charged them with arson after trash bins were set on fire in the Owen Brown area.

Eric Gordon Olmstead, 18, of the 9400 block of Kilimanjaro Road, was released on his own recognizance.

The other youth is 17 and is being charged as a juvenile. He was released to his family's custody.

Police said they caught two youths near a a burning trash container in the 8900 block of Hermann Road.

Police said the two set another fire moments earlier in the 8900 block of Dobbin Road.

Police suspect that the two teen-agers are responsible for igniting other trash bins in the area.

Two fire trucks from Long Reach and Savage hosed down three trash bin fires in the area Friday morning.

No injuries were reported, but the fire charred and blackened the large blue trash bins. The cost of fixing the burned trash bins is usually between $300 and $500, fire officials said.

On April 21, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue responded to five similar incidents in one night in the same area, Chief Donald Howell said.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the fires.

"Dumpster fires are, for the most part, the responsibility of juveniles, what they consider a harmless prank," said Jack Waldner, deputy fire marshal and bomb technician.

"It can be a pain in the butt for firemen and me," he said. "We get called away from real fires where we can rescue somebody."

Setting fire to trash bins is a misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $500 and a 30-day jail sentence.

Greater hazards arise if the fires spread beyond the bin. In January, fire officials tackled a string of trash bin fires in Ellicott City and Columbia.

In one of the incidents, flames from inside a bin caught a tall wooden structure nearby.

Fire officials said, Friday's fires only burned the boxes, paper and other items in the bins.

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