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Firebug suspected in Owings Mills blazes


Two houses were set afire and one person was slightly injured yesterday morning in a spate of arson in the Owings Mills area that left Baltimore County police with unanswered questions.

"It looks like we are dealing with someone who simply likes to set fires," said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a police spokesman.

The first fire was reported about midnight in the first block of Wengate Road. Neighbors led Paul Rittner, 66, from his house after they saw a shed burning behind the building. The fire quickly spread to his house and caused an estimated $40,000 damage. Mr. Rittner was slightly injured.

About an hour later, someone set fire to a shed behind a house in the 100 block of South Ritters Lane, police said. The fire spread to the house and caused minor damage. Edward C. Reed, a 60-year-old retired firefighter, told police that he and his wife managed to escape the blaze uninjured.

A neighbor reported seeing a man in Mr. Reed's yard around the time of the fire.

"We figure it's the same guy in both fires," Sergeant Doarnberger said.

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