- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Fire forces 35 from homeless shelter

A fire destroyed a homeless shelter yesterday morning, displacing 35 persons.

The fire destroyed most of the interior of the three-story building in the 1500 block of Park Road Northwest, fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 3:30 a.m. as flames were shooting from the roof. No one was injured.

The building is run by Catholic Community Services as a transitional rooming house and homeless shelter for men and women.

Some residents were allowed back to salvage any belongings. Mr. Etter said it would be quite a while before the building could be used again.

Catholic Charities spokesman Chapman Todd said his group should be able to find alternative housing for all the residents.

The cause of the fire was not known.



Two seriously injured in minivan-semi crash

A minivan and a tractor-trailer collided at the intersection of Routes 301 and 302 in Queen Anne’s County yesterday, seriously injuring two persons in the van, police said.

The accident occurred about 5:27 p.m. when the minivan crossed the intersection of southbound 301 and collided with the truck, Maryland State Police Sgt. Keith Elzey said.

The two persons in the minivan were flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with life-threatening injuries, Sgt. Elzey said. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to the Chester River Hospital Center in Kent County with minor injuries, she said.

Traffic was being rerouted last night with the southbound lanes of 301 closed.


County to begin e-mail alert

An e-mail alert system that would inform Carroll County residents of updates to county Web pages could be up and running in two to three months.

Vivian Laxton, the county’s public information adminis-trator, said residents who sign up for the service would be able to select Web pages they are interested in, and they would receive e-mail notification when those pages were altered.

For example, contractors could opt to receive alerts when the county Web page that lists bid openings is updated. Or residents could choose to be notified when the county’s public safety or recreation and parks pages are changed if they want to keep up with those departments, Miss Laxton said.

The program will cost about $8,100 in startup expenses and about $930 per month for maintenance and upkeep, county officials said.


Motorcycle hits deer; passenger killed

A woman from Greenwood, Del., was killed Sunday when the motorcycle she was riding on hit a deer.

Barbara Outten, 41, was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by Robert Finkbiner, 43, when they struck the deer just before midnight. Both were ejected.

Miss Outten was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Finkbiner was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with injuries to his leg and head.


Fire destroys building during renovations

The first fire in downtown Cumberland in 30 years destroyed a nearly century-old building Sunday morning.

Four firefighters were injured in the three-alarm blaze that took more than three hours to extinguish.

Cumberland Fire Marshal Boyce Rogers said the preliminary investigation indicated the cause of the fire was electrical.

A developer had been remodeling the four-story building that for years had housed a hardware store. The renovated building was to include retail space and luxury apartments.

The fire started about 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Two firefighters were injured when a floor collapsed underneath them. Two were treated for heat exhaustion.



Kaine to lead mission to Canada

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine leaves today for a three-day trade mission to Canada.

He will be joined by Virginia Commerce and Trade Secretary Pat Gottschalk and Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Robert Bloxom.

The trip will include stops in Toronto and Montreal.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said Canada is Virginia’s No. 1 trading partner, so it is appropriate that his first foreign trade mission be to that country.

Virginia’s annual exports to Canada are valued at about $2.6 billion.

Besides meeting with business prospects, Mr. Kaine plans to meet with Canadian travel industry officials to promote Virginia’s 2007 celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.


Two killed in fire at retirement home

Two women were killed and 11 persons were hospitalized after a fire broke out at a retirement complex yesterday, fire officials said.

Several of those transported to hospitals had life-threatening injuries, Richmond Fire Marshal Keith Vida said. One man remained in critical condition yesterday afternoon.

The blaze was accompanied by at least one loud boom, fire officials and residents said. Some residents said they heard two explosions.

“My understanding is when the first battalion chief arrived on the scene, there was some type of explosion,” the fire marshal said. “But at this point in time, we have not determined exactly what that is.”

The blaze began in an apartment on the fifth floor of the nine-story building and quickly spread to the apartment above, he said. All of the more than 200 residents were evacuated.

The blaze left 15 units uninhabitable, but fire officials hoped to return other residents to their apartments later in the day if the fire alarm system could be reactivated.

About 200 firefighters and emergency services workers responded to the fire, which took about three hours to control.

Marshal Vida declined to release the name of the women who died.


Grant funds testing of water at beaches

The state has received a federal grant to continue weekly sampling of water quality at Virginia beaches.

Donald S. Welsh of the Environmental Protection Agency announced the $276,000 grant at the Virginia Beach oceanfront, where two stretches of beach have been closed temporarily in recent weeks because of high bacteria levels. Mr. Welsh said the closings show the monitoring program is doing its job.

State health officials take weekly water samples from 50 sites along Virginia’s beaches. Twenty-four of the sites are along Virginia Beach’s ocean and Chesapeake Bay shorelines.


Clean spring air abounds in Richmond

Smog in the Richmond area has not reached harmful levels this year.

The state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has announced ozone levels every day since May 1, Dan Salkovitz of the DEQ said, and the city hasn’t even come close to having a bad air day this spring. Ozone is the main pollutant in smog.

The Richmond area is on the federal list of smoggy regions, which means new and expanding industries must meet tougher anti-pollution requirements.

But the state plans to ask federal regulators to remove the area from the list because the air has been getting cleaner.

The region had five high-ozone days in 2003, one in 2004 and six last year. That is well below the figure in 1988, when the pollutant reached harmful levels on 37 days.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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