Columbia fire wrecks day spa, offices of nonprofit

December 31, 2008|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

After receiving two calls from an alarm system company about the Howard County day spa she owns, Lynn Shannon made the five-minute trip in her pajamas in the middle of the night to see whether anything was wrong.

When she arrived, she found Lynn's Day Spa on fire. "I saw the flames shooting out of the roof," said Shannon, who has owned the Columbia spa for more than a decade.

The blaze occurred about 1 a.m. yesterday at 10720 Little Patuxent Parkway. No one was injured, but the fire caused about $1 million in damage, according to county fire officials. Investigators have ruled that the fire was accidental, having started on the first floor of the two-story brick commercial building, according to Howard County Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Bill Mould.

When firefighters arrived, they found fire on the first and second floors, Mould said. The flames spread through the roof. About 60 firefighters contained the blaze in about 45 minutes, he said.

The adjacent building, 10716 Little Patuxent Parkway, also sustained significant damage. Yesterday afternoon, piles of rubble lay outside the burned buildings, while several people who worked in the office space gathered to survey the damage.

One space that was damaged housed the offices of Congregations Concerned for the Homeless. The nonprofit organization works with more than 20 families, said Jane O'Leary, its executive director.

"We'll be able to continue serving our clients, but it's very upsetting," O'Leary said of the fire. "We'll probably go to some temporary space and figure it out one step at a time."

Shannon said clients who purchased gift certificates during the holidays can redeem them at the spa's second location in Clarksville. She predicted that the Columbia spa, where about 50 people work, will return.

"We'll be up and running," Shannon said. "We're not going out of business."

Baltimore Sun reporter Larry Carson contributed to this article.

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