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PROPANE GRILL EXPLODES

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A couple was injured and their house caught fire Sunday night when their propane gas grill exploded.

The explosion occurred about 7:15p.m. at the home of Larry and Martha Stottlemyer, said Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.

It was the fourth propane gas fire in Maryland in two weeks. The most serious killed a Perryville woman and injured 34 other people onJuly 6 in Harford County.

The Stottlemyers received second-degreeburns, and the blast set their house on fire, causing $70,000 damage.

Thomas said the couple was using a barbecue grill with a propanegas bottle when the grill overheated allowing the relief valve to open. The escaping gas was ignited by the grill, creating a fireball.

They were treated by their private physician.

SEARCH ON FOR ESCAPEE

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

State police were still searching late yesterday for an inmate of the Sykesville Central Laundry Pre-Release Unit who walked away from a work detail early Monday morning.

Police said Edwin Paul Witte, 28, of Greenbelt walked away from a group of inmates who were doing some work at the State Highway Administration office on Pennsylvania Avenue near Route 140 around 8:25 a.m.

Wittewas serving eight years in prison for credit card fraud, police said.

He is described as a white male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighing 170 pounds.

He has brown hair and hazel eyes, police said.

Anyone with information about Witte is asked to call the state policein Westminster at 848-3111.

MEDNICK GETS PROBATION

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

A county psychotherapist was found guilty yesterday of felonytheft charges in connection with an insurance fraud.

Steven M. Mednick, owner of the Carroll County Family Counseling Center, was convicted of the theft by Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr.

Mednick, host of Carroll Community Television's "Counselor's Corner," pleaded not guilty to the charge, but Burns convicted him after listening to a statement of facts in the case read by Assistant State's Attorney David Littrell.

According to court records, Mednick was charged with double- and triple-billing Blue Cross/Blue Shield from May 14,1989, to Aug. 26, 1990.

Burns gave Mednick probation before judgment and placed him on probation for five years. In a probation beforejudgment, no guilty verdict will be recorded unless Mednick violatesthe conditions of his probation.

Mednick's probation conditions include a $1,000 fine and $5,250 in restitution to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Mednick could have faced 15 years in prison for the theft charge.

He was arrested Nov. 7, 1990, after city police searched and seized records from his business on Main Street.

Police became involved in the case after a client of Mednick's who worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield noticed irregularities on her bill.

Two civilian inspectors from the insurance company then posed as patients and made appointments with Mednick. They reported that over the course of several months, Mednick was double- and triple-billing the company.

William Stephens, director of the special investigations unit at Blue Cross/Blue Shield, said the company was happy with the judge's decision.

He said the company is considering filing a civil suit against Mednick, but that no decision had been made about it late yesterday.

WOMAN LISTED CRITICAL

DATELINE: NEW WINDSOR

An 18-year-old John Selby Road woman was listed in critical but stable condition late yesterday after a weekend accident on Wakefield Church Road.

State police said Kara Michelle Gregg was traveling eastbound on Wakefield Church Road around 10:35 a.m. when her car ran off the right roadside.

As Gregg attempted to gain control of the car, she overcompensated, and the car started skidding back onto the right roadside, police said.

It then struck a telephone police and flipped over, police said.

Gregg was taken by New Windsor Volunteer Fire Company ambulance to Carroll County General Hospital.

From the hospital, she was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit at University Hospital in Baltimore.

SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK

Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residents to help solve the Crime of the Week.

This week, the group is targeting a breaking, entering and theft at a home in the 6300 block of Oklahoma Road in Eldersburg May 30.

Police believe the burglary occurred between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m..

Items stolen from the home include a Panasonic video camera, an 18-inch pearl necklace, an Olympus 35mm camera with a brown leather case, several Olympus camera lenses and a Yashica 35mm camera.

The back door of the home was kicked in to gain entrance, police said.

If you have any information about this crime, or believe you may know who is involved, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

You do not need to leave your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward.

CARROLL LEADS IN SAFETY

DATELINE: WESTMINSTER

State police in Carroll had the highest number of seat belt and child safety seat citations issued in the state over the July 4 holiday weekend.

Carroll state police issued 178 citations, said 1st Lt. Kenneth Tregoning, commander of the Westminsterbarracks. The next-highest number of citations came from the Easton barracks, which issued 81.

The stepped-up seat belt and child restraint enforcement was part of Operation CARE for the holiday weekend.

Operation CARE, of Combined Accident Reduction Effort, started Wednesday July 3 and ended at midnight July 7.

During the weekend, state police arrested nine people for driving while intoxicated and gave 101 tickets for speeding over 55 mph.

NEW SYSTEM STALLED

The county's 14 volunteer fire companies and the Emergency Operations Center have been using computers to cut the time it takes for firefightersto respond to emergencies since May.

But the next step in the EOC's computer-aided dispatch system could be months down the line because of debate over whether or not the fire companies should tie into acentral computer.

The second phase of the dispatch system was to enable all 14 fire companies to log onto a central computer in order to file post-emergency reports. Doing so would give firefighters a detailed analysis of where, when and how emergencies crop up.

But the county's computer staff is worried that so much direct access to a central computer could cause headaches, so they are recommending thatreports be filed at individual fire halls, then transferred later toa central location.

C. Oscar Baker, president of the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association, met with the County Commissionerslast week to discuss the computer situation.

The commissioners agreed to look into it.

In other matters, Baker told the commissioners about a continuing problem with unmarked addresses on homes, saying that it can take minutes to locate an emergency if an address is not visible. He also told them of the need for the county to require developers to make sure more than dirt roads exist at construction sites, saying fire and emergency equipment could get stuck if those roadsbecame muddy.

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Here is a compilation of the fire and rescue calls to the Emergency Operations Center:

July 9

9:38 a.m., Taneytown, Harney, Kingsdale, Emmitsburg and Westminster responded to an apartment fire on Daisy Drive in Taneytown.

11:00 a.m., Gamber responded to a wash detail in Sykesville Road.

July 12

12:53 p.m.,Westminster, New Windsor and Winfield responded to a field fire on Ridge Road.

July 13

12:07 p.m., Mount Airy and New Market of Frederick County responded to a truck fire on Route 27.

8:48 p.m., New Windsor responded to a brush fire on New Windsor Road in Frederick County.

July 14

8:32 p.m., Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley and Hampstead responded to a gas leak on Bishop Court.

July 16

12:33 a.m., Westminster responded to an automobile fire on East Main Street.

1:02 p.m., Reese responded to a field fire on Spangler Road.

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