Catonsville fire prompts evacuation

October 25, 2007|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun Reporter

A cigarette was the apparent cause of a two-alarm fire last night that prompted the evacuation of several residents of a Catonsville apartment building. No injuries were reported.

The fire was reported at 6:33 p.m. at the Nunnery Lane Apartments in the first block of Merrill Road, a nearly block-long two-story brick building containing 16 units. The blaze caused extensive damage to a second-floor apartment at No. 14 Merrill Road.

The 33-year-old woman who lives in that apartment was evacuated, as were several families in adjoining units, said Battalion Chief Bruce Kesting.

Kesting said the first of about 50 firefighters who responded reported heavy fire in the rear of the second-floor apartment.

Among those forced into the chilly rain were Stefanie Hartel, 19, her boyfriend and her three children, ages 1, 3 and 4.

"Me and my boyfriend were watching TV when my neighbor banged on our apartment door and told me there was a fire," Hartel said as James Elliott of the American Red Cross made housing arrangements for her, her boyfriend, her children and the woman in whose apartment the fire started.

Kesting said the fire quickly went to two alarms and that firefighters from six Baltimore County fire stations and one from Howard County responded.

He said the fire was declared under control at 7:01 p.m.

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