Fire hits 3 houses in 3 hours in west Anne Arundel County

April 13, 2007

Three vacant houses in west Anne Arundel County were damaged or destroyed by fire in less than three hours Wednesday night, a fire official said yesterday, raising concerns that they could be related to a pair of similar fires Tuesday in eastern Howard County.

Two of the Anne Arundel houses, in the 7400 block of Race Road and the 7300 block of Ridge Road in Severn, burned to the ground, said Capt. Harry Steiner, a Fire Department spokesman, while the third, in the 1900 block of Montevideo Road in Jessup, was heavily damaged.

Units from Fort Meade, BWI Marshall Airport and Howard and Baltimore counties were brought in to help Anne Arundel firefighters, whose resources were strained by the triple duty from about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday until well after the third fire was reported at 12:30 a.m. yesterday.

Investigators have not determined the causes of the fires, Steiner said, so it was premature to say whether they were arsons or whether they were related.

No damage estimates were available. Fire officials were trying to locate property owners.

William Mould, a Howard County Fire Department spokesman, said crews responded to fires at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the 8400 block of U.S. 1 near Old Washington Boulevard in Laurel, and at 10 p.m. on Grove Angle Road south of Ellicott City. Both houses were ruined, he said.

"Certainly, there is a great deal of suspicion," he said.

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