Police log for 12/10

December 10, 2002

Man charged with calling in false alarm

One day after his arrest on a charge of trespassing at the REACH Cold Weather Shelter at St. John's Episcopal Church Sunday evening, Michael John Loden was charged Monday with calling in a false fire alarm for the Holiday Motel on North Prospect Street.

In the latest incident, Loden, 48, was taken into custody shortly after the 8:19 p.m. call came in to 911 from a pay telephone at a Franklin Street convenience store, said Hagerstown Fire Marshal Tom Brown.

Dispatchers said the caller claimed to have seen flames coming from the motel.

"Battalion Chief Randy Myers actually found Mr. Loden still at the pay phone when he arrived on the scene," Brown said.

Loden, who gave police an address in the first block of East Antietam Street, was charged with one count of false fire alarm.


Brown said the penalty for a conviction on that charge is up to five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Firefighters from First Hose, Antietam, Western Enterprise and Pioneer Hook and Ladder responded on the call.

Loden was taken into custody Sunday at 8:15 p.m. outside St. John's Episcopal Church at 101 S. Prospect St. after he allegedly threatened to set the building on fire, police said.

Loden was taken to police headquarters and was expected to see a bond commissioner later Sunday evening.

A check with the Washington County Detention Center Monday revealed Loden never was incarcerated at the jail Sunday night.

A recorded phone message at the office of the bond commissioner Monday night said there would be no commissioner on duty until midnight.

Heater wiring blamed for apartment fire

Wiring to a space heater sparked a small apartment fire Monday morning at 655 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown Battalion Chief Randy Myers said.

The electrical wiring from the apartment's panel box to the outlet in which the heater was plugged was not heavy enough to carry the amp load of the heater and other items plugged into the same outlet, Myers said.

The fire, which caused minor damage to the area surrounding the electrical outlet, was under control within five minutes, he said.

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