A two-car garage and machine shop was destroyed by a fire that erupted shortly after 9 a.m. Friday on a farm in the 1800 block of Trevanion Road near Taneytown.
The blaze spewed heavy black smoke several hundred feet that could be seen 12 miles east in Westminster, and brought firefighters from Taneytown, Harney, Union Bridge and New Windsor.
The firefighters were unable to save the contents of the large, concrete block structure.
Heat from the fire melted the vinyl siding off the end of a house 20 feet from the garage. The two-story house is occupied by Thomas Forney Sr., a mechanic at Crouse Ford in Taneytown, and his family.
Mr. Forney, who was at work when the fire broke out, said the garage contained a 1986 Ford station wagon, a three-wheel all-terrain vehicle, a 1972 Honda motorcycle and a dirt bike.
The building also contained a drill press, an air compressor, an arc welder and full sets of mechanics tools in two chests.
Bob Thomas, a deputy state fire marshal, said the fire was inadvertently started by David Forney, 14, a son of the owner, who had been using a hand-held propane torch to kill bees in a corner of the garage.
Investigators estimated the damage at $45,000, Mr. Thomas said.
David Forney told his parents that when he discovered the fire, he ran to the house to call 911.
While he was on the phone, he looked out the window and saw flames coming from the building, he said. He called his parents before fleeing the house.
Assistant Fire Chief Michael Glass of the Taneytown company said that about 30 firefighters battled the blaze for about 40 minutes before it was extinguished.
No one was injured.