Apartment residents view fire's aftermath Several families displaced after Saturday's blaze at Cockeysville complex

December 08, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Some residents of 14 fire-damaged units at Topfield apartments in Cockeysville might be allowed back into their residences today, pending an inspection by Baltimore County building officials.

"We were blessed," Bobbie Erdman said yesterday, after she learned her ground-level apartment in the 12-unit building at 10704 Cardington Way suffered little damage.

Erdman and several other residents of 10704 returned to Topfield to survey the damage from Saturday's fire.

The building was cordoned off with yellow police tape. Remains of possessions were strewn about the front lawn -- a scorched couch, a smashed dish, melted plastic furniture. Wood on the mostly brick building was blackened, and only the rafters of one apartment remained. Blue tarpaulin covered much of the rest of the roof, hiding holes chopped by firefighters to ensure that the fire was not smoldering. Sheets of plywood served as windows and doors.

The fire broke out about midday Saturday in an apartment at 10704 occupied by Debbye Twigg, 44, and her 13-year-old daughter Lindsay Bond. Firefighters believe that one of Lindsay's cats, which died in the fire, knocked over a candle, starting the blaze.

The fire spread through the attics to another building. Three apartments were destroyed.

No one was killed, but three residents who suffered smoke inhalation were treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center and released. A firefighter was released after treatment at a local hospital for an apparent asthma attack.

Fire officials estimated damage at $200,000.

Displaced residents praised the Red Cross disaster service, which turned a vacant apartment into an office, firefighters and police officers who retrieved pets from smoky apartments, and the management of the 156-unit complex, which was arranging deliveries of medicines and sending fire victims to a nearby motel.

Topfield manager Gloria Gray said that at least three families "are starting from scratch" to rebuild after the fire and that other -- residents, churches and friends are helping those displaced.

"I'm telling you, the people here are wonderful," she said.

Pub Date: 12/08/97

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