Fire damages Westminster restaurant and apartments

February 20, 2006|By JOHN FRITZE

A popular Carroll County restaurant and several upper-floor apartments were damaged yesterday in a blaze that brought 12 fire companies and more than 100 firefighters to Westminster's Main Street, officials said.

The cause of the fire - in one of the oldest buildings in Westminster - was faulty wiring, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Joseph G. Zurolo Jr. He estimated the damage at $1 million.

Firefighters were called to Fat Cat Cafe at 5:18 a.m., and had the blaze under control by 7 a.m., said Bob Cumberland of the Westminster Fire Department. The restaurant sustained water and smoke damage, he said.

One person was slightly injured when rescuers threw open the door of an upstairs apartment, hitting a tenant in the head, Cumberland said.

Zurolo said the fire began above the ceiling in a third-floor attic apartment. He said an occupant of the unit told investigators the electrical circuit breakers kept tripping early yesterday, so she left her apartment to stay with friends. The fire burned out the attic apartment.

The American Red Cross was providing assistance to displaced tenants.

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