A fight at the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department's annual carnival last Wednesday night prompted officials to consider shutting down Thursday night's festivities before they decided to more than double security and keep the carnival open for the rest of of the week.
The fight started between two teenage girls and drew a crowd of more than 50 — and potentially up to 80 — people, according to Glen Peacock, chairman of the fire department's carnival committee. The altercation spilled onto East Drive, shutting down the road until the fight was cleared, as more police offiers were called, he said.
According to Baltimore County Police, the altercation occured just before 10 p.m. July 20 and began on Linden Avenue.
Police said one of the girls called her parents to say she didn't want to fight the other girls. The parents arrived and tried to take the daughter home, but other young people were trying to fight with her. At least one of these young people assaulted the father when he tried to protect his daughter, police said.
The incident remains under police investigation and no arrests have been made as of late Friday.
Security at the carnival — which is typically a combination of more than 10 uniformed and plain-clothed police officers — has more than doubled, to a number that Peacock said could handle a potential return from the group.
"We're not going to let an incident like that deter our community from not having our carnival," Peacock said. "We wanted to make sure that we could provide enough security."
Thursday's festivities went smoothly, Peacock said, crediting Lt. Nancy Storke of the Baltimore County Police Department for her assistance.
"She did a phenomenal job of giving more assistance to us throughout the evening to secure all of Arbutus and the surrounding streets leading into Arbutus," he said. "Baltimore County police did a real good job of it last night."
Attendance at the carnival Thursday was about half the size of a typical Thursday night's crowd of "a couple thousand," he said.
Peacock debunked rumors that have been spread on social media, which included references to shootings, stabbings and broken business windows — none of which happened.
"Social media destroyed us last night," he said. "Everybody's refusing to come down."
On one of its social media pages, the department posted a message explaining the matter and urging calm.
"The [Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department] members work hard to make our Carnival successful and we appreciate the support that the community provides," the posting said. "One measure of our success is the funds raised, although the larger measure is the smiles of the children and families enjoying time together and making memories. Please do not allow last night to keep you from coming and enjoying the carnival. We need your support and we hope to gain your continued trust. We believe, by bringing additional County resources together, we can have a fun event for all. Come see how much fun a carnival can be."