Fort Meade fire attributed to equipment


October 27, 2006

The six-alarm fire that ripped through a building at Fort Meade last week was caused by malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment on the fourth floor, Army officials said yesterday.

Nathan Hale Hall, which is used by the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, a counterintelligence unit, received major roof damage from the Oct. 20 fire.

Officials don't yet know how the equipment malfunctioned and led to the fire.

Damage estimates are pending the outcome of a final investigation.

Much of the building has been declared uninhabitable. Some workers have returned to the lower levels of the building, while others are working in other divisions.

Reconstruction efforts could take four months to two years, according to Jennifer Downing, a spokeswoman for the Army post in western Anne Arundel County.

Downing said officials could set up trailers to house displaced workers.

Nia-Malika Henderson

Statewide: Appeal

Employee wrongly fired, court rules

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that a terminated Public Service Commission worker was wrongly fired by PSC Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler, remanding the case to the lower court and ordering that the PSC foot the bill for half of the employee's legal costs.

Robert M. Higginbotham II, former PSC public information officer, was terminated by Schisler in April 2004 after five years in the position. That June, Higginbotham brought the suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City saying that his constitutional rights of due process were violated.

The ruling indicates that Higginbotham - who had originally requested reinstatement with back pay or $500,000 - should not have been terminated by Schisler alone and that it is the entire commission that has the authority to make personnel decisions.

Jennifer Skalka

Baltimore: City schools

Board fights charter funding

The Baltimore school board is asking the state's highest court to review a lower court's decision requiring it to provide additional funding to charter schools. The board filed an appeal last week with the Court of Appeals. The Court of Special Appeals ruled last month that school systems must spend as much money per pupil on charter schools as they spend on regular public schools. Charter schools are public schools that operate independently. The city spends about $11,000 per child in its regular public schools. Its 17 charter schools receive $5,859 per child in cash and the rest in services that the school system provides, such as special education and food. Some of the charter schools say that formula limits their flexibility. But the school board argues that if it had to provide the charters with $11,000 per pupil in cash, it would result in regular schools getting less money. Most of the state's 24 charter schools are in Baltimore.

Sara Neufeld

Inner Harbor

Man who jumped in water is rescued

A man in his early 60s jumped into the Baltimore Harbor yesterday for unknown reasons and was rescued by city divers, said Roman Clark, a spokesman for the Fire Department. The man, who has not been identified, was sitting on a wall behind the World Trade Center about 7:15 a.m., according to witnesses interviewed by the Fire Department. The man stood, walked to the edge and leapt into the water, Clark said. The department received an emergency call at 7:17 a.m. The first rescue workers to arrive saw a coat floating in the water, Clark said. Using hooks, the rescuers probed the water for the man's body, Clark said. A team of divers arrived, went into the water and found the man. The man was resuscitated and taken to Mercy Medical Center, where he was reported in critical condition, Clark said.

Annie Linskey

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.