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Fire set by arsonist destroys two barns, damages another on farm in Gamber


An arsonist is responsible for setting a fire that destroyed two barns and damaged a third early yesterday in Gamber, according to the state fire marshal's office.

About 50 firefighters from five stations battled the fires in the 3700 block of Nicholson Road for more than three hours before bringing them under control, said Bob Thomas, deputy chief fire marshal.

The fires began shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday on the property of John Nickoles, who raises beef cattle.

No injuries were reported.

Mr. Thomas said state fire investigators have no suspects. He also said there was no evidence to suggest that the fires were related to a series of barn fires during the past year in the Hanover Pike and Route 91 area, near the Carroll and Baltimore county border.

The barns that were destroyed contained hay, farm equipment and cattle. The animals were removed safely.

The third barn, which had minor fire damage, contained tools.

About 50 firefighters from the Gamber, Sykesville, Westminster, Reese and Winfield companies responded to the fire.

Mr. Thomas could not provide a cost estimate of the fire damage.

The state fire marshal's office, in cooperation with the Arson Control Association of Maryland, is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever set last night's barn fires.

Anyone with information about the fires should contact the fire marshal's office at 1-800-492-7529.

In response to concern over recent fires in the Hanover Pike and Route 91 area, the Baltimore County Fire Department is holding a community meeting at 7 p.m. today at the Arcadia fire station, 5415 Arcadia Ave.

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