Independence Day `quiet,' despite minor incidents

Property damaged

no injuries reported

July 07, 1999|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

State police and fire marshals reported several fireworks-related incidents during the Fourth of July weekend, including a stray bottle rocket that started a fire and caused about $3,000 damage to the siding of a house in Taneytown.

Despite the reported incidents in Carroll County "it was a relatively quiet Fourth of July," said Allen Gosnell, spokesman for the state fire marshal.

The fire began when a randomly fired -- and illegal -- bottle rocket landed beside a house at Cambridge Court, igniting combustible material and melting some of the vinyl siding about 10 p.m. Sunday, he said. Neighbors spotted the blaze, and firefighters from Taneytown, Harney and Union Bridge prevented it from spreading through the two-story wood-frame house, Gosnell said.

The bottle rocket, which looks "like a firecracker on a long stick," has a range of about one-quarter mile and is sold legally in some states, he said.

Fire marshals also are investigating a pipe bomb that destroyed a mailbox in the 2700 block of Sam's Creek Road in Winfield about 11 p.m. Friday, Gosnell said. After neighbors reported the explosion, investigators recovered bits of copper tubing, which are being analyzed.

Gosnell said there could be a reward for information in the two incidents.

While use of illegal fireworks is punishable by a $250 fine, a conviction for making destructive devices -- such as pipe bombs -- is a felony with a maximum possible penalty of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

State police at Westminster also reported several incidents over the holiday weekend.

In Woodbine, rocks and a rocket damaged a window and a piece of siding at a home in the 500 block of Hoods Mill Road, causing about $120 damage, sometime between Saturday and Monday, according to a report of malicious destruction of property.

Other fireworks complaints brought police to a residence in the 2500 block of Kays Mill Road in Finksburg about 9: 30 p.m. Sunday, and to the 4300 block of Angell Road in Taneytown about 10 p.m. Friday, according to reports.

On Saturday night, a 20-year-old Westminster man reported that a smoke bomb was thrown onto his vehicle as he was driving east on Route 140 near Center Street. According to the report, a female passenger in another vehicle threw the smoke bomb, which caused about $50 damage to a hood support bracket.

Some time after 10 p.m. July 4, Robert Philip Panek of the 100 block Taft Terrace, Eldersburg, told police someone stole his "Innocent Maiden," an 18-inch white marble statue valued at $200.

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