Two-alarm fire damages Glen Burnie apartments

GLEN BURNIE, Md. - A total of 11 apartments were impacted following a two-alarm fire Tuesday morning in Glen Burnie.

The fire broke out before 7:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Water Fountain Court. Anne Arundel County fire officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but added their effort was hampered somewhat in the apartment where the blaze started because of the amount of items in the residence.

In addition, one firefighter slipped on the ice while battling the fire.

Neighbors said the Red Cross has reached out to them to give them a place to stay for the next two nights. Their building has been fenced off and they don't know when they will be able to get back in.

Howard Lastner said he's had dreams about a fire in his Glen Burnie condo complex.

“I told everybody, I’m going to die here if something isn’t done,” Lastner said. 

Anne Arundel County firefighters had to remove a lot from inside the unit where the fire starter, but officials did not use the word 'hoarder'.

However, Lastner said of his upstairs neighbor, “If you're going to hoard, you hoard on your own property. Not in a place like this where other people are involved, because it's not fair to us.”

It's also a concern for the State Fire Marshal.

Brian Geraci said there have been three deadly fires that involved hoarding since he took that post in September 2013. 

“We have a hoarding situation where the occupant of the house has a hard enough and difficult time to get around that residence on a normal day to day basis. Here we add smoke fire and heat conditions and you can't escape that,” Geraci said.

The goal is to prevent fire deaths hampered by hoarding. 

He is in the process of putting together a statewide task force with public health partners and police.

“Just to see what we can do. If we need to take any legislative action for next year when the legislature is in effect so we can see if we can try to prevent these incidents from occurring,” Geraci said.

Geraci said it will be important to take cues from other states, like Delaware, that already have hoarding a task force in place.

He will be meeting with fire marshals from all over the state to determine what Maryland can do.

That meeting is coming up on March 20.

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