Damage from fire closes restaurant


A two-alarm fire caused by an electrical short burned out a vacant apartment above a Glen Burnie restaurant and bar early yesterday, causing at least $50,000 in damage, county fire officials said.

The main part of Dino's Restaurant, in the 7200 block of Ritchie Highway, suffered no fire damage, but water and smoke damage could keep the dining room closed for several weeks, said Battalion Chief James F. Koch.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out minutes past 6 a.m.

Chief Koch said a fire hydrant in front of the restaurant froze in the cold weather, forcing firefighters to lay several hundred feet of hose to another hydrant on Crain Highway.

Chief Koch and Lt. Bob Lowe, a fire investigator, said the fire started accidentally. They said water leaking through the second-floor roof apparently caused an electrical short, sparking the blaze.

When firefighters first arrived, they found flames shooting through the ceiling of the wooden building. A second alarm was struck at 6:30 a.m., bringing nearly 50 firefighters to the scene. The fire was under control by 7 a.m.

Delma Chalfant, 52, of Severn, and Christine Schmidt, 29, of Glen Burnie, just took over the restaurant in October.

"We have no idea what happened," Ms. Chalfant said yesterday, as she sat in a car and watched firefighters finish their work. "They haven't let us look at anything. We're in shock. It's terrible."

The managers said they had not been inside and could not assess the damage. Ms. Chalfant said she has worked in restaurants in Glen Burnie for 14 years, and finally decided to go into business for herself.

"We were all ready for the New Year," Ms. Chalfant said. "Now, it's a mess."

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