Authorities investigate Monday's three fires

Two blazes in Finksburg

barn in Gamber burns

no injuries reported

January 05, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Authorities are investigating three fires -- one of which destroyed a barn near Gamber -- that occurred within two hours of each other in southeastern Carroll County late Monday.

The fires -- two in Finksburg and one in Gamber -- occurred between 8: 30 p.m. and 10: 30 p.m., according to the state fire marshal's office. No one was injured.

"Each fire is under investigation as a separate incident," said Allen Gosnell, a fire marshal spokesman. "We have no evidence they are related, but the obvious -- timing and location -- makes it seem likely they could be."

Fire investigators ask anyone who saw anything suspicious to call the state Arson Hot Line at 800-492-7529, Gosnell said.

The first incident occurred at 8: 34 p.m. at a vacant Finksburg home in the 2200 block of Old Westminster Pike. The home suffered about $100 damage to the outside of a window, where authorities believe an incendiary device was used to ignite the blaze.

The blaze at the two-story wooden house was discovered by a passer-by and brought under control within five minutes by about 25 firefighters from Reese and Gamber.

The second fire occurred at 9: 54 p.m. at a detached Finksburg garage in the 1900 block of Deer Park Road. The one-story wooden building suffered about $1,000 damage to a front exterior wall, authorities said.

Investigators said an incendiary device was used to start that fire, which was discovered by the homeowner.

The blaze was brought under control within five minutes by about 25 firefighters from Gamber, Reese and Reisterstown in Baltimore County.

At 10: 32 p.m., a passer-by discovered the third fire, which destroyed a barn in the 3500 block of Niner Road in Gamber.

It took about 30 firefighters from Gamber, Reese, Sykesville and Baltimore County about 20 minutes to bring the fire under control and damage to the one-story barn was estimated at $50,000, authorities said.

According to the most recent statistics compiled by state police, 17 arsons occurred in Carroll County during the first six months of last year, down two from the same period in 1998.

Statewide for the same period, arsons declined by about 12 percent, from 1,243 to 1,100.

In unrelated arson cases this summer in Carroll County, a 14-year-old Finksburg boy and a 15-year-old New Windsor boy were accused, respectively, of setting fires to a house and to the rest-room doors at a carnival ground.

A series of shed, barn and house arsons occurred during spring 1998 and ended after three juveniles and an adult were arrested and convicted on 27 charges, including arson, theft and drug distribution.

A year ago, a 20-year-old Westminster man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he was convicted of four arsons in April 1998.

Four barn arsons in northern Carroll County between September and October 1998 had at least one farmer standing armed guard on his property at night.

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