Minibuses destroyed by arson


13 other vehicles damaged by vandals at lot owned by agency contractor

February 14, 2005|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Three minibuses were destroyed in an arson fire and another 13 vehicles were damaged by vandals over the weekend at a transportation company parking lot in Southeast Baltimore, according to the Maryland Transit Administration and state fire marshal's office.

The three buses are owned by the MTA, but stored at a lot in the 4500 block of Curtis Ave. that belongs to MV Transportation Mobility Service. The company is under contract to provide transit services for the disabled under the MTA's Mobility program.

The 13 other vehicles - two of them minibuses, the others Ford Crown Victoria sedans - were damaged by vandals throwing rocks and chunks of concrete, said Richard Scher, an MTA spokesman. Seven were owned by the MTA, he said, and the other six leased to California-based MV Transportation by Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Damage was estimated at $200,000.

Scher said the vehicles were used for training and that "customers should not feel the effects."

The MTA's Mobility program was criticized last year by advocates for the disabled, who had complained that the service was unreliable despite improvements announced in July by state Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Howard F. Ewing said the fire was set in one of the minibuses and quickly spread to the other two. The blaze was extinguished by city firefighters within half an hour, and no injuries were reported.

The parking lot was secured by a chain-link fence and locked gate, but there was no on-site security guard, Scher said.

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