Farmhouse chimney fire sparks outpouring of concern


January 17, 1994|By JEAN LESLIE

Ken and Bonnie Danker of Ellicott City were at Ken's office party during the holidays when they received an urgent phone call: A fire had erupted at their house.

Their teen-age baby sitter, Arna Majcher, a senior at Centennial High School, awakened Lauren, age 3, and 8-year-old Rebecca, left the house and went to a neighbor to call 911 and the Dankers.

Because their smoke alarm was known to go off occasionally, Ken and Bonnie did not panic; nevertheless, they bundled up and drove home.

They returned to find the road blocked off and eight fire trucks parked in front of the pretty old farm house they had purchased only a year before, responding to a fire in the chimney.

Meanwhile, the Dankers' neighbor, Bob Wiseman, an employee in emergency management at the Hickory Ridge Fire Station, had heard the call on his police scanner and went to help.

He met Arna and the two little girls and made sure that no one else was in the house.

Neighbors Kay and Bob Donahue invited the three to stay at their house.

Bob Wiseman remained at the scene to support the Dankers.

Firefighters were able to salvage household belongings by placing smaller items on large pieces of furniture and throwing tarps over other items to save them from water and smoke damage.

"They couldn't have been kinder to myself and my husband," Bonnie said.

The Dankers commend the four fire stations that helped extinguish the chimney fire, which caused extensive smoke damage.

Fire departments that responded to the blaze included the Main Station in Ellicott City, Long Reach Station, Rivers Park Station and Elkridge Station.

The good news, says Bonnie, is that only half of the house was heavily damaged, and that is already being rebuilt.

The Dankers expect to move in by May.

The family especially wants to thank baby-sitter Arna, whose quick action saved the day; the Donahue family, who opened their home to the Dankers that night; and Bob Wiseman, whose expertise helped make a bad situation a little better.


This weekend, Howard High School students and staff will share their best with you in "Showcase '94," an annual display of performing arts.

This year, the 45 performers will include both students and faculty.

Among the performances will be dances by the pompon and gymnastics team and the advanced jazz dance team.

Sign-language teacher Lynn Javier's class will sign and sing the "Shoop" song.

Faculty members will also get into the act. English teacher Collette Lawrence will perform solo ("To Sir with Love"), and with her husband, Rick Lawrence ("When I Fall in Love").

Guidance counselors David Glenn and Al Silberman will sing, and chemistry teacher John Quinn will perform a guitar solo.

Showcase '94 will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tickets are $5 and are available in the school's front office or at the door.

Drama coach Pat Stackhouse also wants everyone to mark their calendars for Howard High's production of the musical "Carousel" on March 10, 11, and 12.

Rehearsals for this ambitious production are already under way. For more information on "Showcase '94," call 313-2867.

Local historian Joetta Cramm again will offer her course "History Ellicott City" at the Continuing Education Department of Howard Community College.

She'll conduct the course at Ellicott City's popular PJ's Pub, where she'll discuss the town's industries, explore old buildings and talk about key Ellicott City players.

Lectures and slide visuals will bring her stories to life. A two-hour walking tour will complete the course.

"History of Ellicott City" begins on Feb. 1 and will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. every Tuesday for 6 weeks.

The cost is $40 per person.

For information or registration, call (410) 992-4823 or 992-4825.


The Centennial High School Boosters are having their 16th Annual Bull and Oyster Roast Feb. 26.

Because last year's roast sold out early, organizers are urging you to buy tickets in advance.

The all-you-can-eat buffet includes oysters served three ways, roast beef, clams, steak tartare, ham, chicken and salads.

Entertainment includes poker, blackjack and a 50-50 raffle. "Opus I" will provide the music.

Turf Valley Country Club will open its doors at 8 p.m. and close at 1 a.m.

Tickets are $30 per person; tables for 10 may be reserved. For tickets or more information, call Cindy Mellendick at 461-454.


Finally, a note about today's holiday: Martin Luther King's birthday will be celebrated from noon to 4 p.m. today at Columbia Mall.

Entertainment includes the Howard County Children's Chorus, the Chinese Language School and Mount View Middle School's Jazz Ensemble. A mime group will also perform.

This celebration will mark the holiday for children, with a show by children.

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