Three fires hit Arundel during five-hour period


Three fires in five hours early yesterday in Anne Arundel County left an unidentified Pasadena woman dead and a Brooklyn Park man seriously injured.

The fatal fire struck first, at a single-story home in the 200 block of Dale Road in Pasadena. The owner, John Thomas Gaydos, was not home. Battalion Chief Gary Sheckells said that Mr. Gaydos' son returned home about 1:10 a.m., smelled smoke and heard the smoke detectors sounding. He called the fire department from a neighboring home and tried in vain to get inside, Chief Sheckells said.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze within 30 minutes and found a woman dead on the floor in a bedroom, officials said.

Chief Sheckells said officials were awaiting confirmation of the woman's identify from the medical examiner.

The one-alarm fire that seriously damaged the home is under investigation and fire officials aren't yet sure where the blaze began or how.

No one was injured in a 4:36 a.m. blaze at a vacant two-story house in the 100 block of River Road in Arnold. Chief Sheckells said that firefighters arrived to find the dwelling partly engulfed in flames.

A second alarm was struck at 5:18 a.m., and firefighters had it under control at 6:20 a.m., he said.

The chief said the fire started on a rear second-floor porch. He said the cause is unknown, but it has been ruled suspicious because vagrants frequent the building. Damage was estimated $60,000.

At 7:38 a.m., firefighters in Brooklyn Park were called to a combination barber shop and rooming house in the 600 block of Church St., where they found David Gardner, 33, unconscious in his smoldering bed, Chief Sheckells said.

The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes and caused $200 worth of damage to the rooming house. The chief said that Mr. Gardner had been smoking in bed.

"It was more of a mattress fire than anything," Chief Sheckells said. "This is a classic example where there is a minimal amount of fire but where we almost had a fatality."

Mr. Gardner was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was treated in the hyperbaric chamber -- used for smoke inhalation patients -- and was listed in fair condition last night.

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