Digest

September 11, 2007

Talbot County : St. Michaels

Three fire deaths are ruled accidental

Autopsies on three people killed Aug. 18 in a Talbot County fire have concluded that they died accidentally of thermal injuries and smoke inhalation, according to findings released by the medical examiner's office in Baltimore.

The state fire marshal's office is continuing to investigate the cause of the house fire in the Arcadia Shores community east of St. Michaels. The fire killed Kennedy Fitzgerald, 20; his sister Margaret Fitzgerald, 19; and his girlfriend, Christine Maier, 19. Four other people escaped.

The Fitzgeralds' parents, who owned the house, were in New Jersey at the time.

The fire caused more than $1 million in damage.

Wicomico County

: Hebron

Woman killed in crash with firefighter

State police said a Salisbury woman was killed Sunday in Hebron when her car was struck by a volunteer firefighter responding to another traffic accident.

Police said Yvonne Wilbekin, 46, was making a left turn on Lillian Street at Chestnut Tree Road about 2 p.m. when her car was hit by a Hebron Fire Department SUV driven by Steven Brown, 31. The accident is under investigation.

Wilbekin was pronounced dead at Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Brown, who was injured, had been responding to a two-car accident about 10 minutes earlier at U.S. 50 and Route 670.

Allegany County

: Cumberland

Building collapse displaces 4 families

Four families were left homeless by the partial collapse of a two-story brick apartment building, officials said.

No one was hurt in the incident Saturday morning, but firefighters had to rescue three of the occupants, a man and his two children, ages 5 and 9.

Some tenants said they had been worried about the condition of the 112-year-old section that collapsed - one of three connected, but separately owned, rowhouses.

"I knew it was going to go any time," Edward Thomas told the Cumberland Times-News. Thomas said the landlord, Robert Pettiford III of LaVale, had recently agreed to let him and his fiancee out of their lease because of the building's condition.

"You could see the wall, it was moving," tenant Marco Sandoval said.

Dave Cox, a city building engineer, said that when Pettiford bought the building more than a year ago, he had been cooperative and took action to comply with plumbing and electrical codes.

Associated Press

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