Ex-firefighter put on 5-years' probation for arson

October 28, 1993

A former volunteer firefighter was placed on five years' probation for setting a fire that caused $35,000 damage to a privately owned schoolhouse.

Rusty Jay Harman, 22, of Westminster, pleaded guilty in July to one count of arson. Last October, Harman admitted to fire investigators that he ignited a plastic bag full of dry leaves on the porch of the schoolhouse, in the 600 block of Hughes Shop Road in Westminster.

The schoolhouse, owned by Joan Rinehart Metcalf of Westminster, was badly damaged in the blaze, court records said.

The fire was the second set by Harman, who was a member of the Pleasant Valley Fire Company. In 1990, court records show, he was convicted of setting fire to a building in the 2300 block of Hughes Shop Road.

On Monday, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. imposed a suspended 20-year sentence in the schoolhouse arson. The judge ordered continuation of the five-year probation Harman was serving in the 1990 case.

The judge also ordered Harman to begin making monthly restitution payments to Ms. Metcalf, who is owed $35,279, court records show.

POLICE

* Westminster: A resident of Sycamore Avenue reported to city police that someone broke into a garage and stole a 20-inch, freestyle racing bicycle Friday. The bike is valued at $350.

FIRE

* Westminster: Firefighters from the Westminster and Pleasant Valley stations were called to a fire in the kitchen of a house under construction in the 300 block of Buck Cash Drive in The Greens of Westminster at 7:52 p.m. Tuesday.

A propane heater, used to dry building materials, ignited a sheet of plywood, said an official of the Westminster company. Damage was minimal, the official said.

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