Fire Damages Supervisor's Farm

A fire ignited by a faulty combine destroyed the $45,000 machine and about 70 acres of straw last week at the Lovettsville farm owned by Loudoun County Supervisor Helen A. Marcum, fire officials said.

The fire broke out shortly before noon last Thursday at Marcum's farm on Armarc Farm Lane, according to Mary Maguire, spokeswoman for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Services.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by about 1:30 p.m., but some stayed until 8 p.m. to make sure that all hot spots were extinguished, Maguire said.

Crews from Leesburg, Lucketts, Hamilton, Lovettsville, Round Hill, Frederick County, Md., and Jefferson County, W.Va., and the Virginia Department of Forestry responded to the fire.

Children Started Blaze, Officials Say

A Sunday afternoon fire that damaged a Leesburg town house was started by children playing with incense sticks, Loudoun County fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the home in the 400 block of Andromeda Terrace about 3:30 p.m., according to Mary Maguire, spokeswoman for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Services. No one was injured in the blaze.

The fire caused about $40,000 in damage and has temporarily displaced a family of five, Maguire said. Firefighters and rescuers from Leesburg, Ashburn and Lucketts responded to the fire.

County's 911 System Disrupted

Loudoun's emergency communications system had technical problems for about five hours Sunday because of an equipment malfunction in Bell Atlantic's Leesburg office, rescue officials said.

The equipment failure, which began at 2 p.m. and was fixed by 7 p.m., caused all 911 calls to be rerouted to a nonemergency line, according to Mary Maguire, spokeswoman for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Services. Although the calls continued to be answered by dispatchers, some were delayed as long as 20 seconds because of the glitch.

The equipment problem also affected the radio channels that rescuers use to communicate, Maguire said.

During the failure, volunteers provided extra staffing at stations across the county in case of an emergency, and dispatchers monitored the radios for any signs of trouble, Maguire said. "We were fortunate that nothing went wrong," she said. "Things were handled very well."