The Baltimore Sun

Fire erupts in apartment In Laurel; no one is hurt


More than 70 firefighters spent an hour battling a blaze that broke out in a six-story apartment building in Laurel yesterday afternoon, Anne Arundel County fire authorities said. The three-alarm fire began about 2 p.m. in a fifth-floor apartment in a building in the 3500 block of Laurel Fort Meade Road and was apparently caused by a malfunctioning furnace, said Battalion Chief Matthew Tobia, a Fire Department spokesman. The apartment's lone occupant was not home, and no residents or firefighters were injured, he said. Three apartments were damaged by fire, smoke and water, but the building's manager is preparing other apartments for the affected residents to move into immediately, Tobia said. The fire caused an estimated $700,000 in damage, he said.

Julie Scharper

Mt. Vernon streets to close for ceremony

Baltimore transportation officials are planning to close several streets in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood for tonight's annual lighting of the Washington Monument. The ceremony, set to begin at 7 p.m., will include public officials, celebrity guests, entertainment and vendors, and it will conclude with fireworks. Starting at 9 a.m. today, West Mount Vernon Place will be closed from Charles Street to Cathedral Street. Starting at 2 p.m., the west side of Charles Street will be closed from Centre Street to Madison Street. Starting at 6 p.m., the east side of Charles Street will be closed from Centre to Madison. All of the streets are expected to reopen by 11 p.m. A detour will be marked, but officials advise drivers to avoid the area if possible.

Balto. Co. graduates first firefighters since 1999

The Baltimore County Fire Department will graduate its first class of firefighters in nine years at 7 p.m. today at Loch Raven High School. The 28 men and four women received more than 700 hours of instruction in firefighting and related operations and practices. Since 1999, firefighter training in the county has focused on filling Emergency Medical Services vacancies. Information: 410-887-4520.

23 displaced by fire at Annapolis apartments

Nearly two dozen people are unable to return to their apartments after a fire started by a child playing with a lighter damaged an Annapolis building Tuesday night, fire officials said. A 5-year-old playing with a lighter set fire to a mattress, and the blaze quickly spread to the rest of the bedroom, Annapolis Fire Department spokesman Lt. John Bowes said. Firefighters were called to the apartment building in the 200 block of Madison St. in the Harbour House public housing community about 8:30 p.m. and brought the blaze under control in about 10 minutes, he said. No one was injured, but the blaze caused $100,000 damage to the building and rendered the apartments temporarily unfit to be occupied, Bowes said. The Red Cross is helping the 11 adults and 12 children displaced by the fire to find housing, he said.

Julie Scharper

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