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Assistant Chief Michael Montgomery said the blaze may have started in a basement fireplace. He said a chimney collapsed through the second floor, bringing down part of the roof. He said it was an “extremely dangerous situation” for firefighters.

Chief Montgomery said that a lack of fire hydrants near the house hindered firefighters.

Suspect in killing due in court

ROCKVILLE | The woman arrested in connection with a brutal slaying at a Bethesda yoga boutique clothing store is due in court Monday.

Brittany Norwood, 27, faces a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the killing of her coworker, Jayna Murray, 30, at the Lululemon Athletica store in the Bethesda Row shopping center.

Ms. Norwood told police both the women were sexually assaulted and described their attackers as two men fully cloaked in black and wearing masks and gloves who followed the victims inside the yoga-clothing store.

But police said that Ms. Norwood’s story was inconsistent with evidence they collected and quickly unraveled under scrutiny.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the killing may have resulted from a dispute over stolen merchandise.


Emanuel woos Ramsey for top cop job

Former Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey is in discussions to leave his job as Philadelphia’s police commissioner and become the new police chief in Chicago.

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who is to be sworn in on May 15, is courting Commissioner Ramsey to be Chicago’s police superintendent, a spokesman for Philadelphia’s mayor said last week.

Commissioner Ramsey is a native of Chicago, where he served for nearly 30 years before taking the top job in the District in 1998. Despite substantial decreases in crime, he was dismissed by former D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and has served as commissioner in Philadelphia since 2008.

Commissioner Ramsey, 61, has been lauded for cutting crime in Philadelphia despite a shrinking police force in a bad economy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports