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Fire destroys roller rink

August 19, 1998

Rink FireBy TERRY TALBERT / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer [enlarge]




BRADDOCK HEIGHTS, Md. - A team of experts was to be in Braddock Heights today to try to determine the cause of a Wednesday morning fire that destroyed the Braddock Roller Rink, according to Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Robert B. Thomas Jr.

Seven deputy state fire marshals from across the state, and eight to 10 federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were to be at the site of the two-alarm blaze this morning to sift through the debris and collect evidence, Thomas said.

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The fire, which caused $225,000 in damage, destroyed the large wood-frame building at 4607 Old Swimming Pool Road. The building once housed a carousel and most recently contained a roller rink and bowling alley.

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A resident smelled smoke and then discovered the blaze at 4:16 a.m., Thomas said.

When firefighters arrived, they found the building engulfed in flames, Thomas said. About 70 Frederick County, Md., fire and rescue personnel battled the fire for more than 90 minutes, but were unable to save the structure.

There were no injuries, Thomas said.

"We've been unable to pinpoint the area of origin," Thomas said. "We have nothing as far as the cause, because we couldn't enter the remains until 3:30 p.m. today (Wednesday) because there were about a dozen hot spots that still had to be doused."

Thomas said there was no explosion before the blaze. He said the business closed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Thomas said the ATF was asked to help search for the cause under an agreement between the agencies.

"We have a cooperative agreement with ATF that any commercial fire that causes more than $100,000 damage in the state qualifies for ATF assistance," he said.

Thomas said David Harrison Yinger, 60, of Braddock Heights, has owned the rink and bowling alleys for the past 10 years. He said Yinger and his son Stephen operated the business.

The Yingers could not be reached for comment.

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