School bus hit by vehicle responding to house fire in rural Balto. County Mother in hospital, youths hurt in blaze

5 students, driver have minor injuries

March 12, 1998|By Dail Willis and Joan Jacobson | Dail Willis and Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

One misfortune led to another in northern Baltimore County yesterday morning when a fire department vehicle en route to a blazing house broadsided a school bus on York Road, slightly injuring five students, the bus driver and a firefighter.

A mother and two daughters were injured in the house fire that began before 7 a.m. in the 600 block of Corbett Road. The house, a 115-year-old log cabin that had been refurbished and expanded, was gutted by the fire, which officials said was caused by faulty wiring to an air-conditioning-heating unit.

Bo Sakowsky, 39, was burned on her face, hands and back when she went back in the house to rescue nine boxer puppies inside, said Baltimore County Fire Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard. She was flown to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was in fair condition yesterday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Her daughters, 18-year-old Maha and 9-year-old Victoria, were treated at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson and released, according to hospital officials.

The fire occurred on a rural hilly road without hydrants. Firefighters ran hoses across the road to a nearby pond. Authorities blocked off part of York Road leading to the blaze, forcing traffic to turn around.

A school bus carrying 26 students bound for Hereford Middle and High schools turned around at Indian Spring Court, which intersects York Road.

When the bus began a left turn to head south on York Road, it was broadsided by a northbound Cockeysville special-unit sport-utility vehicle taking equipment to the fire scene, said Baltimore County Fire Capt. Jerry Pfiefer.

Pfiefer and Baltimore County schools spokesman Donald I. Mohler characterized the injuries from the collision as minor. Mohler said four sixth-graders and one seventh-grader were hurt in the mishap.

Three children were taken to Greater Baltimore Medical Center and two to St. Joseph Medical Center, Mohler said. All were released by early afternoon.

The bus driver was treated at St. Joseph and released, according to police, and the firefighter was treated at GBMC and released.

The fire destroyed the house, Hubbard said, with the loss estimated at $150,000 for the house and $50,000 for the contents.

Hubbard said Victoria Sakowsky went downstairs early yesterday and saw smoke coming from behind a couch, where the heating-air-conditioning unit was located. She called her mother, who tried to put the fire out.

When flames spread up the wall, she sent her daughters outside, then went back in to rescue the boxers, Hubbard said. The woman managed to get seven of the puppies out of the house, a firefighter rescued an eighth and the ninth was not found, Hubbard said.

The fire awakened several neighbors. Shirley Talbott said she saw the fire when she looked out at her back yard about 7 a.m. "Every window had flames shooting out of it sky-high," she said.

Pub Date: 3/12/98

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