Resident and firefighter are injured in blaze at Westminster house

February 15, 1994|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

Two people were injured and six were left homeless when a two-alarm fire destroyed a house on Frock's Sunnybrook Farm in Westminster on Sunday.

One of the residents, an unidentified woman, was treated at Carroll County General Hospital for smoke inhalation, and a firefighter was taken to the same hospital for injuries suffered at the scene. Both were released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

More than 75 firefighters dispatched from stations in Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley, Manchester, New Windsor, Hampstead and Winfield were interrupted in their battle when electric meters mounted on the outside and ammunition in one of the apartments exploded. No one was hurt in the explosions, fire officials said.

The injured firefighter, Jim Starry, 29, of the Westminster Fire Company, was treated for first-degree burns of the face, neck and ear.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation by a deputy state fire marshal. Damage to the building was estimated at $35,000.

Westminster Fire Chief Jay Nusbaum said the explosion of the electric meter "looked like a light show" at the back of the building.

Chief Nusbaum said firefighters had to use an additional hose about 2,000 feet to a George Street hydrant to battle the flames after connecting to the nearest water hydrant. More than 200 people were attending a Sunday Singles dance in a banquet hall on the property, a short distance from the house, at 9 p.m. when the fire broke out. They were blocked by fire equipment on Sunnybrook Lane until an alternate driveway could be cleared of snow.

An American Red Cross official, Barbara Bankard, said five of the six displaced people were taken to a nearby motel for immediate shelter and are now seeking permanent housing. One man, the resident of the downstairs apartment, was taken in by relatives, she said.

Ms. Bankard said the victims lost everything in the fire.

Firefighters remained at the scene of the Bond Street blaze for three hours and 44 minutes. Engines from Gamber were transferred to fill in at Reese, and equipment from Union Bridge was transferred to New Windsor for similar duties. They remained at those stations for four hours.

At 3:40 a.m. yesterday, debris from the fire reignited, and engines from Westminster, Reese and Pleasant Valley responded.

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