Fires ruin homes, church

Firefighters battle flames in 3 counties, city during weekend

One woman is killed

Sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., dies in house blaze

January 10, 2000|By Kurt Streeter | Kurt Streeter,SUN STAFF

Fires throughout the region during the weekend destroyed a church in Prince George's County, residences in Carroll and Anne Arundel counties and a rowhouse in Baltimore, and caused the death of a Baltimore servicewoman stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

City firefighters fought a blaze yesterday in West Baltimore that destroyed a vacant three-story rowhouse and damaged an adjacent rowhouse in the 100 block of S. Monroe St. No one was injured in the fire, which started about noon.

Also yesterday, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms continued its investigation of a blaze early Saturday that leveled most of Village Baptist Church in Bowie.

The federal investigation is routine when a house of worship is destroyed by a fire of unknown origin, said Mike Campbell, an ATF spokesman. "We'll know more early in the week," he said.

The congregation of 150 families was determined not to lose faith.

Led by Pastor Bruce Salmon, they held services yesterday morning on the church's parking lot.

"This is a test of belief," said the pastor's wife, Linda Salmon. Congregants have met to plan how to rebuild, she said. Damage was estimated at $350,000.

"We lost years of memories and lots of material things in the fire," she said. "But what we are leaning on is that, though the physical church is gone, what really matters, the true church, comes from within."

Fire raged through the church in the 1900 block of Mitchellville Road about 7 a.m. Saturday, said Capt. Chauncey Bowers, spokesman for Prince George's County Fire Department.

The sanctuary and offices in the single-level brick building were destroyed. The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes, Bowers said. No one was injured.

Also Saturday, a three-alarm fire in a Sykesville apartment building destroyed one dwelling and caused significant damage to at least five other units, fire officials said.

The fire began about 6 p.m. in the top floor of an apartment complex in the first block of Gaither Manor Drive, Maryland Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said.

More than 100 firefighters from Carroll, Howard and Baltimore counties took two hours to control the blaze, Thomas said.

No damage estimates have been made as the investigation continues.

A three-alarm fire that began about 8: 25 p.m. Saturday caused significant damage to a cluster of homes in Anne Arundel County, fire officials said.

The blaze started in the garage of a house in the 1400 block of Mirable Way near Jacobsville, said Lt. Bob Rose, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County EMS/Fire/ Rescue.

The blaze destroyed the garage and the house above it. It also damaged two nearby houses, Rose said. Damage estimates were not available last night.

In North Carolina, a Baltimore woman died in a house fire Saturday at the Army base at Fort Bragg.

Sgt. Tiffany M. Summers-Egerton, 28, died when the house in which she lived caught fire about 6 a.m., said Maria Taylor, an Army spokeswoman.

Summers-Egerton, an Army nurse who had been in the military for about 10 years, listed Baltimore as her home address.

Army investigators are working to determine the cause of the blaze. No one else was harmed, Taylor said.

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