Carroll Digest


March 18, 2004

Two-alarm fire destroys home near Sykesville

A faulty chimney flue apparently caused a fire Tuesday evening that destroyed a house near Sykesville, according to the local fire company and the state fire marshal's office.

The two-alarm blaze caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the two-story home in the 6400 block of Candelwicke Court, the fire marshal said yesterday. Owner Richard H. Fenner told investigators that he awoke from a nap after 5 p.m. to find flames showing through the wall above the fireplace, where he had lighted a fire that day.

The fire marshal said the fire was accidental, caused when a faulty pipe in the chimney ignited wood in walls that extended to the attic.

Fenner told firefighters that something awoke him, possibly a sound from the fire. He called for help and tried to douse the fire but had to leave the house, said Bill Rehkopf, spokesman for the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department.

By the time about 45 firefighters arrived, the first and second stories were ablaze, Rehkopf said. Companies from Winfield and Gamber in Carroll County and West Friendship and Lisbon in Howard County helped bring the fire under control in about a half-hour. Firefighters were at the scene about four hours, then returned twice, at 10 p.m. and again at midnight, when hot spots flared up.

Tankers had to shuttle water to the home because the neighborhood has no hydrants, Rehkopf said. There were no injuries, but a cat was missing yesterday afternoon.

Fire officials reminded homeowners to have their chimneys cleaned and the liners inspected annually.

8 days remain to comment on growth-law changes

The public record on changes to Carroll County's adequate public facilities law will remain open until March 26.

Residents can submit additional written comments on other proposals that include revisions to the subdivision and development standards, zoning ordinance and rural fire protection requirements for new development.

A public hearing Tuesday night drew the most reaction to proposed changes in the adequate facilities law that would require development plans to meet more stringent standards and pass two tests for adequacy before projects could proceed.

The law is designed to prevent residential development from overwhelming schools, utilities and emergency services. The county worked on overhauling growth laws as part of a one-year freeze on residential growth.

E-mail comments can be sent to County Attorney Kimberly A. Millender at kmillender@ccg.

$12 million more sought in bond authorization

The county has asked for an additional $12 million in a bond authorization request for capital improvement projects in the 2005 fiscal year.

That would bring the total to $31 million in bonds for which Carroll County officials are seeking approval from the General Assembly.

The $12 million was inadvertently left out of the original $19 million bond request submitted to the Carroll legislative delegation, said county Comptroller Eugene Curfman.

The additional request would allow the county to sell bonds to pay off an unfunded liability the county has with the Maryland State Retirement System, Curfman said. When the county withdrew from the state retirement system in 1985, there wasn't enough money to cover projected payments to retired county employees.

The county owes about $23 million in a 15-year payment plan. With current interest rates, the county could save about $6 million during that time, Curfman said.

Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines, chairman of the delegation, said he does not foresee a problem with amending the bond bill to include the additional money.

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