Two city schools close early after fires are set

December 01, 2004

Two Baltimore schools closed early yesterday because of arsons, the latest in a series of blazes set in city schools this year, authorities said.

A fire set at Edmondson-Westside High School in the 500 block of Athol Ave. about 11 a.m. filled the school with heavy smoke and forced classes to be dismissed a short time later, said Vanessa Pyatt, a school system spokeswoman.

The fire was contained to a bathroom, which is used as a storage area, said Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright.

At Dr. Samuel L. Banks High School in the 2500 block of E. Northern Parkway, two fires were set about 10:20 a.m. in a storage room, school and fire officials said. A school employee was taken to Bayview Medical Center suffering from minor smoke inhalation, Cartwright said.

The fire destroyed a television and other material housed in a storage area, he said. Automatic sprinklers doused the blaze.

City schools reported about 70 suspicious fires, arsons and bomb threats during the first two months of this school year.

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