A faulty window fan caused a three-alarm fire yesterday morning in Joppatowne that severely damaged three townhouses and displaced 12 residents, fire officials said.
No one was injured, but the adjoining homes sustained $300,000 in damage and were rendered unlivable.
A fourth home sustained smoke damage and broken windows.
The fire, which began about 7 a.m. in a second-floor bedroom in the 300 block of Adair Court, quickly consumed the home's second level and spread to the attic.
The wood-frame rental homes, built more than 25 years ago, share an attic that is not protected by the standard firewalls required in newer homes, fire officials said.
A resident of the home where the fire started discovered the blaze.
Investigators attributed the fire to an old two-fan window unit, one fan of which was working.
The unit was left running on a dresser. Investigators found no smoke alarms in any of the homes.
About 75 firefighters from Harford and Baltimore counties extinguished the blaze in about a half-hour.
The Red Cross and the tenants' landlord, J&J; Industries of Bel Air, were coordinating efforts to find housing for those who were displaced.
Most went to a temporary shelter provided by Joppa Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company on Trimble Road.
Mary Gail Hare
Worcester: Ocean City
Police seek man in woman's death
A Middle River man is being sought for questioning after a woman was found dead in West Ocean City yesterday, state police reported.
Information other than the gender of the victim -- including where her body was found and how she might have died -- was being withheld yesterday by police at the Berlin barracks.
Police issued a photo of the man, and identified him as 30-year-old Gregory William Stokes. He was driving a navy-blue 1997 Jeep Wrangler with Maryland tags 261M305, police said.
Anne Arundel: Linthicum
CO2 levels force evacuation of inn
The Holiday Inn BWI was evacuated briefly yesterday and two employees were hospitalized after being exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide, an Anne Arundel County fire official said.
A female assistant front office manager and a male line cook were taken to University of Maryland Medical Center as a precaution after complaining of nausea and headaches, said Adam Novotny, the hotel's general manager.
A damper on a rooftop furnace malfunctioned, drawing the exhaust back into the building, where it was recirculated, said Division Chief Stuart McNicol, a county Fire Department spokesman. That set off an carbon monoxide alarm shortly before 9 a.m. at the hotel, 890 Elkridge Landing Road in Linthicum.
The carbon monoxide reading in the lobby was 30 parts per million, the level that causes detectors to sound an alarm, McNicol said. About 50 guests and 30 employees were evacuated.
The problem was confined to that area, and the hotel was reopened by 10 a.m., after the air there was recirculated, McNicol said.
Ravens ice skating rally set for tonight
The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks will sponsor a Ravens Rink Rally from 7 to 9 tonight at the Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro Family Skating Center, 200 S. Linwood Ave. The ice rink will glow purple, and the event will include face-painting, balloon twisters and a purple-candy-guessing contest. A $1 discount on admission is available for anyone wearing Ravens gear. Information: 410-396-9392.