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Electrical-room fire shuts down Catholic school No one injured in blaze before start of classes


More than 400 Roman Catholic school pupils got an unexpected two days of vacation after a fire that began in a rectory electrical room yesterday knocked out power to St. Michael the Archangel School in Overlea.

No one was injured in the fire, which was called in at 7: 39 a.m., about 20 minutes before school was scheduled to begin, said fire and school officials.

Baltimore County Fire Department sent 50 firefighters to the scene, where the fire was quickly contained, said spokesman and Battalion Chief Mark Hubbard. Extinguishing the fire proved more difficult.

"We couldn't extinguish it because it was surrounded by live electrical equipment," Hubbard said. "We had to wait until BGE turned off the power." He said the fire was put out within an hour of the alarm.

The fire was discovered by a priest, who heard the first of several small explosions as the fire spread through the 10-foot-by-20-foot room, Hubbard said.

Schoolchildren arriving for class were shepherded by school officials into a second building used for kindergarten through third grade, said Principal Patricia Kelly. School was closed yesterday and would remain closed today, she said.

"At this point we don't have electrical service, telephone service or heat," Kelly said.

No damage estimate or cause for the blaze had been determined yesterday, Hubbard said.

Pub Date: 12/11/98

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