Former motel set ablaze to aid fire training Problem building donated to county for exercise

November 27, 1995|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County had the last word against an old nemesis yesterday when it torched the former Davis Motel on Pulaski Highway as part of a training session for firefighters.

Officials pulled the license on the 64-year-old white stucco motel in the summer, after repeated building violations and complaints it was being frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers.

"Sure the neighbors are pleased," said George Marmaras, owner of the Double-T Inn next door.

Mr. Marmaras bought the property in September for $200,000 and donated the motel in the 8300 block of Pulaski Highway to the county for the training session. He plans to add seating or a party room to his restaurant.

"That place was too much," he said of the motel. "It devalued property. It didn't belong here."

Firefighters set the 30-room motel ablaze at 9 a.m. yesterday. They had filled the rooms with combustible materials -- such as hay and wooden pallets -- and doused them with flammable liquid. About 50 firefighters from Rosedale and Essex helped extinguish the blaze, which provided realistic fire conditions. The fire was set in a way that each room could be burned twice, allowing for more than 60 firefighting exercises, officials said.

"I think a lot of the neighbors were glad to see the building go because it was surrounded by controversy," said battalion Chief Mark Hubbard.

Inspectors visited the motel seven times last year. They refused to issue a license after finding rooms strewn with used condoms, as well as inoperable smoke detectors, toilets and showers.

The county Board of Appeals ruled in July that denying the 1994 license was justified, but decided the case moot because the 1994 licensing year expired in April.

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