Arson Claims Maryland Department Engine

When volunteers in Middletown, Md. were awaken for a fire call early Saturday, they didn't have far to go. They could see the glow from the bunkroom.

They soon discovered a fire engine and two other vehicles burning in the fire station parking lot, about 20 feet from the building.

The 1987 Seagrave engine that was on loan from Singer Associates sustained extensive damage, said Middletown Fire Chief Steve Leatherman.

The tires were burned down to the cords, windows and the windshield were cracked or shattered and the cab sustained fire damage, he said, adding that it had no equipment on it.

Chief Leatherman said his department had borrowed the engine while their's was undergoing major repairs. "We just got our truck back Friday, and moved the other outside."

He said insurance should cover the damages.

One of the other vehicles damaged belonged to Steve Nalborczyk, a volunteer, while the other had been stolen from a local resident.

The chief said investigation showed the fire started in the stolen SUV, and quickly spread to the fire truck and the volunteer's pickup truck.

They weren't the only ones hit by vandals in the Frederick County town early Saturday, either. One vehicle was put in neurtal, sending it down a hill where it hit a parked Mercedes. It bounced off, and struck a utility pole, narrowly missing a house.

Chief Leatherman said he's been told that juveniles may be responsible for the spree that involved about 40 vehicles.