Arson suspected in townhouse fire, 3 others in Bay Hills...

ARUNDEL DIGEST

September 05, 2001

Arson suspected in townhouse fire, 3 others in Bay Hills

Four fires early yesterday in the Bay Hills area of Arnold were intentionally set, authorities said.

One of the fires, which started about 1:25 a.m. in a shed under the deck of a townhouse on Bellerive Court, spread to four other townhouses, causing $250,000 in damage and displacing two families, said Division Chief John M. Scholz.

About 55 firefighters from the county, Annapolis and the Naval Academy extinguished the fire by 2 a.m. No one was injured. The county's arson-detecting dog, Iris, helped investigators determine the fire was intentionally set, Scholz said.

Just before that fire was reported, three other fires were intentionally set within about a half-mile, according to fire officials. A landscaping truck and boat trailer were damaged and a lawnmower was destroyed in those fires, said Scholz.

Authorities had no suspects.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call 410-222-TIPS.

Leadership changes at county workers' unions

The presidents of two unions that represent county workers have resigned.

Scott Harmon, president of the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees Local 583 for nearly five years, resigned effective Sept. 1.

Harmon was voted vice president of the union last week. It represents more than 800 county employees, including road crew workers and civilian 911 operators. The former vice president of the union, Mike Akers, was elected president.

Fraternal Order of Police President Paul Ingley resigned last night after nearly two years in the job. Ingley, who is planning a move to Germany, is succeeded by union vice president Ricardo Hawkins.

Hawkins will serve the remainder of Ingley's term, until elections for the FOP board are held in November. The union represents more than 500 county police officers.

Cat found in park area was rabid, officials warn

County health officials announced yesterday that they are looking for anyone who handled a rabid cat last month in the Rock Creek Park area of Pasadena.

The black, short-haired cat - found in the 1600 block of Wall Drive - tested positive for rabies Thursday. Officials say anyone who handled the cat between Aug. 16 and Aug. 30 may be at risk for rabies, a potentially fatal disease that can be transmitted through a bite, scratch or contact with the saliva of an infected animal.

Officials urge anyone who might have had contact with the cat to immediately call the county health department's emergency services line at 410-295-3140 to be screened for possible treatment.

Police seek gunman who robbed driver at post office

County police were searching yesterday for a man who they said robbed a contracted truck driver for the U.S. Postal Service of several bags of cash, checks and money orders Saturday at the Shady Side post office.

The driver, who was forced at gunpoint into the cargo area of his truck, called police on his cellular phone and used a metal bar to poke a hole through the fiberglass roof of the truck to escape, according to police reports. The driver, from a Bowie-based trucking company, was not injured.

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