Mat burned outside East Middle School
A gym mat valued at $1,900 was deliberately set ablaze on the playground of East Middle School in Westminster about 9:15 a.m. yesterday, fire officials reported.
City police, a deputy state fire marshal and the Westminster fire company responded to calls about the fire, but school personnel extinguished the flames before the fire department arrived, officials said.
Investigators reported that they found a cigarette lighter next to the destroyed mat, which measured 9 feet by 5 feet by 2 feet and was used by high jumpers.
Police said they were told by school officials that a 14-year-old East Middle student had started the fire on the practice field near the running track, while other students were using other areas of the large playground.
No one was injured.
* Westminster: Engines from the Westminster and Reese stations were dispatched to a house fire in the 600 block of Hook Road at 6:34 p.m. Tuesday. The first firefighters on the scene discovered that a pot of food on the stove had ignited, chasing six people, including four children, out of the building. No one was injured. The firefighters were out for 25 minutes.
Westminster and Reese responded to a call about smoke in a basement of a building on South Colonial Avenue at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday. Units were out for 30 minutes.
Westminster firefighters were dispatched to the Sheetz gasoline station and store in the 300 block of E. Main St. at 3:44 a.m. yesterday to investigate a report of a leaking carbon dioxide tank inside the store. Firefighters evacuated the two employees, and customers were turned away until the leak was repaired. Fire officials said the leak was in a motor fed by a carbon dioxide tank. After it was repaired, a Health Department official examined it and declared the system safe. The store was allowed to reopen about 6:15 a.m. No one was injured.