Some Lessons From A Ferndale Fire

| March 21, 2009 | 2 Comments

A house caught fire in Ferndale. That is not the real story. After the fire was out, the house was was condemned and deemed uninhabitable by the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.  Apparently during their investigation, Fire Marshals discovered a cache of antique weapons.

AA County Firefighters clean up after fire in Ferndale on March 19, 2009. (Photo Courtesy: Baltimore Breaking News/Baltimore Sun by John Milleker, Jr)

AA County Firefighters clean up after fire in Ferndale on March 19, 2009. (Photo Courtesy: Baltimore Breaking News/Baltimore Sun by John Milleker, Jr)

Fearing that the Fire Department was looking to seize the weapons, the home’s owners charged the Fire Marshals (sending them to the hospital for treatment), were reportedly tased, and now sit in the Jennifer Road Detention Center on $150,000 bail. Their family, who is currently living in their car, do not understand why they were arrested.

First of all, I can’t speak to Maryland law, but in other jurisdictions, during a fire, the title legally turns over to the fire department for the duration of the incident. Essentially this protects the fire department from frivolous suits stemming from causing damage. It also puts a burden on the fire department to have the proper insurance so that no damage or theft claims are filed after the fact.

Also in most jurisdictions, antique guns are allowed to be kept as a collection and no law is broken. If I had to guess, the Marshals were removing the guns from the house to verify that they were not loaded and could cause no further harm. The best solution would have been to let them do their jobs and ask questions if there were any concerns.

Lesson 1: In Anne Arundel County, some Fire Marshals are also “deputized” as police officers and do pack heat. So when you throw a punch, you are indeed assaulting an officer. When you assault an officer, do so with the knowledge that the force of every cop in the area will likely (and rightly) come down on you. No one knows what someone else is thinking. Did this man have a gun? A knife?

Lesson 2: I am not sure why the family is living in their car after the fire. The Red Cross is a wonderful organization and one of their main functions is to assist people in times of need after emergencies such as this. They will make arrangements for temporary housing, food, and clothing. If you are ever in need, please ask that someone contact them on your behalf.

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Category: Breaking News

About the Author ()

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news--and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009. John's background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.