Investigation of fire at Harford club stopped after second blaze erupts

October 02, 2001|By Lane Harvey Brown | Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF

Investigators' efforts to pinpoint the cause of a weekend fire at a Harford County nightclub were stymied yesterday when fire erupted again shortly after 3 p.m., a state fire official said yesterday.

"We'd just completed a briefing; we were reassembling and preparing to go inside" when a hidden fire broke out under a section of collapsed roof, said Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor. No one was inside the building at 2607 Belair Road when the second fire started, about 36 hours after firefighters first responded.

A passing motorist reported a fire at 2:56 a.m. Sunday at Tremors Nightclub and Restaurant and Stitches Comedy Club, owned by John Sikalis of Bel Air. The clubs were closed at the time.

Sunday's two-alarm blaze drew more than 70 firefighters from eight fire companies in Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as units from York County, Pa. Damage is estimated at $2 million.

Yesterday, investigators from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined the investigation. Deputy State Fire Marshal Mark Bilger and ATF Special Agent Philip Horbert are leading a team of about 30 investigators from the two agencies. The cause of the fire is not known.

"We're not going to know for a while because we haven't found the point of origin," Taylor said. "That's what we were initiating today when the fire broke out again."

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