Old Frederick Road office fire results in $150,000 in damages

January 22, 1998|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

The fire that destroyed the office of Charles Palmer's landscaping and contracting business also took something dear to his heart -- a 1934 Ford 5 Coupe that Palmer was restoring.

"It hurts," said Palmer, 34, owner of Charlie's Bobcat Service, as he watched fire investigators comb the building late Tuesday night. "It's gone. There aren't many of those cars left. Insurance isn't going to pay for everything."

About 10: 50 p.m. Tuesday, the fire blazed through his 30-by-40 foot tin-and-brick structure in the 8200 block of Old Frederick Road in Ellicott City.

While the fire didn't threaten lives and was confined to the large shed, firefighters still were forced to call a second alarm because the nearest hydrant was about a mile away, forcing fire engines to take turns ferrying water from that hydrant to a tanker.

The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze. Damage estimates reached $150,000 yesterday.

Palmer, who lives in Baltimore County, was watching television news coverage of a fire in Sykesville when he got a call about a blaze consuming his firm's shop.

After rushing over, Palmer learned that his father, who lives next door to the shop, rescued the family's 18-month-old black Labrador, Buster, who slept in the shop.

Firefighters on the first engine arrived minutes later.

"The fire was through the roof," said Master Firefighter Joan Pfau, who was the first to attack the flames with recruit John Orth. "There was heavy smoke, the door was burning through."

About a minute later, Capt. James Loar arrived and began coordinating the arriving engines and tanker that continually fed water to firefighters.

"It was teamwork," said Sgt. Richard Weber, who manned the engine's pump. "It was a text book [operation]."

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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