Unusually busy day for area firefighters 14 calls handled in 2 1/2 -hour period

April 18, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

State fire marshals are investigating two unrelated fires that -- were among 14 service calls handled by Carroll County volunteers in 2 1/2 hours yesterday.

Included in that total -- about double the number for an average day -- were four fires and numerous calls to shuffle units from the northern and northwestern areas of the county to fill in at unmanned stations, officials said.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in New Windsor, the site of a two-alarm house fire at 11: 22 a.m. The occupants were not home at the time, fire officials said.

The blaze destroyed one side of the near-century-old duplex in the 100 block of Main St. that had been converted into apartments.

The attic area of the other side was damaged, but firefighters prevented heavy flames from destroying the interior.

State fire marshals were called to investigate the cause, said Deputy Chief Bob Thomas, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office.

The injured firefighters, from New Windsor Fire Company, are Bri- an Lease, who suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns, and Felix Hill, who punctured a foot when he stepped on a nail, said Lt. Jeff Lease, the incident commander and a cousin of Brian Lease.

The injured men were treated at Carroll County General Hospital and released, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday afternoon.

Volunteers from Union Bridge, Westminster, Pleasant Valley, Winfield, Lineboro and Reese, as well as from Libertytown and New Midway in Frederick County, assisted New Windsor, bringing the blaze under control in about an hour, according to Lieutenant Lease.

Potentially more dangerous was a 1: 55 p.m. trash fire outside Oklahoma Road Middle School, which is under construction in Sykesville.

Flames spread quickly to nine propane gas cylinders about 20 feet from the building and about 100 yards from a fast-food restaurant on Liberty Road.

At least three of the 100-pound tanks exploded before firefighters from Sykesville, Gamber and Baltimore County's Liberty Road station arrived. The fire was quickly doused, but firefighters remained to cool the metal tanks, said Capt. Bruce Fleming of Sykesville Fire Company.

"[Burning] propane tanks can skyrocket [when they explode] and cause a lot of damage, so we had to stay at a safe distance or use a portion of the building as a shield to get closer," Captain Fleming said.

The school building sustained very minor damage, he said.

Captain Fleming said four of the tanks were empty, but the remaining five were full.

State fire marshals were called to investigate the cause of the trash fire, Deputy Chief Thomas said.

Blustery winds probably contributed to the trash fire, spreading flames to the propane cylinders, Tobe Carter, a dispatcher at the county's Emergency Operations Center, said.

Volunteers quickly put out two other fires yesterday -- a chimney fire on Bachman Valley Road in Reese at 12: 27 p.m., and a blaze caused by a wood stove at a business in the 100 block of York St. in Taneytown at 1: 45 p.m.

Pub Date: 4/18/96

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