Fire destroys home near Parkton

A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a home in the 900 block of Old Barn Road, off Falls Road, near Parkton early yesterday, authorities said.


Elise Armacost, spokeswoman for the Baltimore County Fire Department, said that when the first unit from Parkton arrived after the 8:55 a.m. call, the two-story house was engulfed in flames.

Armacost said the one-alarm fire required a tanker to be called in to supply water, which is typical in rural area fires. Units from Carroll County and York County, Pa., assisted in fighting the blaze.


No one was home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries, Armacost said. The fire was brought under control by noon.

Firefighters had trouble fighting the fire because of winds that ignited nearby brush, Armacost said.

Fire investigators said the house was "so completely destroyed that they could not determine the cause of the blaze," but it did not appear to be suspicious, Armacost said.

Damage was estimated at $600,000.

Armacost had no information about the family, except that they lost everything in the fire. The house was believed to have been built in the 1980s.

Ellie Baublitz

Circuit Court

Police-records dispute to go to trial in May


A May trial has been set to settle a dispute about a request for records from the Maryland State Police by the ACLU of Maryland and Maryland State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The civil rights organizations are alleging that the police agency is withholding information on how complaints of racial profiling are investigated and is charging excessively for records requested under the Maryland Public Information Act.

The state attorney general's office says that the state police have provided detailed information about racial profiling complaints, including the race and gender of those making the accusations and of those troopers against whom the allegations are made.

Both sides had requested a Baltimore County Circuit judge to resolve the matter without a trial. But Judge Timothy J. Martin said they were asking for the court to decide an issue "in a vacuum."

"Does the MSP's broad conclusory statements, repeated continually, that these documents are 'personnel records' make them so?" Martin wrote in his opinion this week. "Although the NAACP's requests are certainly broad and quite encompassing and eventually the records sought may fall into the undefined category of personnel records, that decision can not be made at this stage. "

The trial is scheduled to begin May 13.


Laura Barnhardt


Development name is Renaissance Square

Renaissance Square will be the name of the new development planned for the site of the demolished Kingsley Park apartment complex, county officials announced yesterday.

Construction on the village of mixed-income housing is to begin this year, said Angela Heffner, a county spokeswoman.

In August, the County Council approved a deal giving the 18-acre property and $4.1 million in subsidies to Enterprise Homes and Mark Building. The county spent nearly $5 million acquiring the land, relocating tenants and demolishing the buildings. And an estimated $11 million was forgiven in state and federal loans that had been owed by the previous owners of the crime-ridden apartment complex.


A contest was held to determine the name of the project. Janet Burkhardt, an Essex resident, submitted the winning "Renaissance Square" name, Heffner said.

Laura Barnhardt


One killed, one hurt in 2-vehicle crash

A man was killed and his passenger seriously injured yesterday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash in Dundalk, county police said.

A Toyota was pulling out of a restaurant parking lot in the 1500 block of Merritt Blvd. about 1 p.m. when it collided with a northbound Ford Explorer, police spokesman Bill Toohey said.


The male passenger in the Toyota was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in critical condition, he said. The woman driving the Ford was taken to another hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, he said. The identities of those involved were not immediately available from police.

Toohey said police are investigating the cause of the crash, but that excessive speed did not appear to be a factor.


Gas main break displaces about 12

A gas main break yesterday morning in Rosedale displaced about a dozen people from their homes.

Construction crews struck and broke a 6-inch gas main in the 8100 block of Philadelphia Road, and firefighters responded to the scene about 10:40 a.m., according to the county Fire Department. No one was injured, but 14 homes between Seling Avenue and Pine Grove Avenue were evacuated, the department said.


Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. was working to fix the gas main, and the dozen people who were at home at the time were taken to the Rosedale Volunteer Fire Company.


Pair arrested in hoax threats

Two juveniles have been arrested and charged with calling in hoax threats to Catonsville High School and Catonsville Middle School on Wednesday morning, county police said yesterday. A 14-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, both students at the middle school, were charged with making a threat of arson and disturbing school operations, said police spokesman Bill Toohey.

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