Three-alarm fire at unoccupied apartments in Catonsville leaves only a few walls up Firefighters were hampered by lack of hydrants near the $5.4 million Park Caton


A three-alarm fire last night all but destroyed the $5.4 million Park Caton apartments in Catonsville, leaving only a few brick walls standing, Baltimore County police said.

County fire investigators today were to search the rubble to find the cause and source of the fire at the development in the 300 block of Maiden Choice Lane that was to open soon.

Hampered by a lack of fire hydrants at the scene, the fire reduced the 80,000-square-foot U-shaped apartment building of 101 one-bedroom units to smoking debris and twisted metal, police said.

The roof and most of the floors collapsed during the fire, leaving ++ only a few brick walls standing, police said.

The fire was reported shortly after 7 p.m. and went to three alarms in several minutes. It took more than 200 firefighters from stations in Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore more than two hours to bring the fire under control, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Park Caton, scheduled to open in May, would have provided housing for single people age 62 or older with annual incomes of less than $17,010 or just under $19,500 for couples.

Police said 300 people were waiting to move in.

Wilkens District police said the fire was clearly visible from the station less than a mile away and that it lighted up the sky.

With no fire hydrants installed at or near the development, fire apparatus had to use hydrants several blocks away and relay water to firefighters through tanker trucks.

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