MARYLAND

Pedestrian Dies After Being Hit by Car

A Hyattsville man died of his injuries late Monday after he was struck by a car as he was crossing the road with a bag of groceries, Prince George's County police said yesterday.

Tobey Chambers, 77, of the 7700 block of 24th Avenue, was hit by a 1995 Nissan Altima about 5:15 p.m. Monday as he tried to cross University Boulevard near its intersection with 24th Avenue in Adelphi, police said. The pedestrian was trapped under the car and had to be freed by rescue workers. He was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, where he was pronounced dead about 6:30 p.m., authorities said.

Police said that the accident did not occur in a crosswalk or at an intersection and that the driver of the Nissan, a College Park man whose name was not released, was not speeding. An investigation is continuing, police said.

Riverdale Fire Volunteers Return

Volunteers for the Riverdale Fire Department were allowed back in the station this week, having resolved their differences with officials who kicked them out because they refused to answer ambulance calls.

The volunteers signed an agreement with officials in Riverdale Park and Prince George's County promising to answer all calls--including those for medical emergencies.

The volunteers last month refused to answer ambulance calls, citing a lack of staffing. Town officials then obtained a court order ousting the volunteers from the station. Since then, the department's members have elected a new chief and president who approved the new agreement.

Under the agreement, Prince George's fire officials will continue to staff the station round-the-clock. The county also plans to help recruit volunteers.

Annapolis Christmas Tree Lacks Admirers

The idea was to create a Christmas tree that celebrates Maryland's agricultural heritage. So designers adorned the 22-foot Colorado blue spruce in the heart of downtown Annapolis with banana- and apple-laden fruit baskets, bunches of dried tobacco, ears of corn, and rakes and pitchforks jutting out in all directions.

But not everyone appreciates the effort.

"With all the things thrown on it, it looks like a barnyard junkyard," said Ted Grier, a longtime Annapolis resident.

This is the second year that the tree has prompted complaints. Last year's tree featured a mannequin in a rain slicker that was used to represent a waterman, but instead prompted comparisons to a drunk or corpse.

"Last year's was pretty sad, but at least it was laughable," resident Kathleen Knower said. "This year, it's like: What is it?"

Slaying Puts Baltimore's Toll at 300

A 42-year-old man became Baltimore's 300th homicide victim of the year, marking the 10th straight year the city has reached that mark, police said yesterday.

Larry Langley was found dead Monday night in his home in south Baltimore. Officers were sent to the home after neighbors asked police to check on Langley, police said.

Police had been hopeful earlier this year that they would be able to keep down the homicide rate, which was below year-ago levels for most of the summer. As of Aug. 19, 167 people had been killed, compared with 200 at the same time last year.

However, the rate climbed this fall and winter. Ten people were killed during one weekend this month, including five at one home.

VIRGINIA

Electrical Fire Destroys Hotel Rooms

A short in a fluorescent light fixture caused a fire that heavily damaged a building in the Woodlands Hotel complex in Colonial Williamsburg, fire officials said.

The fire broke out Friday night in a room and ran quickly from room to room after it reached the attic of the building, which has a wood-frame roof.

No one was injured, but 15 of the 30 rooms were destroyed. Fire officials on Monday estimated the damage at more than $500,000.

The building that burned was slated for demolition in two years to make way for a parking area.

Youth Charged in Computer Bomb Threat

A 16-year-old student at York High School in Yorktown programmed a classroom computer to display a bomb threat when it was booted up, school officials say.

The message, "I will blow up the school some time in the month of January," was displayed after the computer was altered Friday, according to school officials.

The youth, whose identity was withheld because of his age, was charged with computer trespassing and making a bomb threat, said Lt. H.M. Willaford, of the York County Sheriff's Office.

A search of the youth's home, conducted with his parents' consent, turned up no evidence of bomb-making materials or devices, Willaford said.

"We don't believe at this time that he had any intention of making a bomb," Willaford said.

THE DISTRICT

Firefighter Pulls Man From Burning Home

A D.C. firefighter rescued a man from the flames that devoured his home yesterday morning, officials said.

When engines arrived at 3006 Channing St. NE, firefighters found a raging blaze in the rear of a single-family home, fire officials said.

Lt. Craig Duck, of Engine Company 26, searched the house for other victims after two children were found unharmed outside.

Duck found the unidentified man on the floor of a bedroom and pulled him outside to safety. The victim was given first aid, then was taken to George Washington University Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes, and there were no other injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The best we can discern is a bunch of anonymous blobs moving around. Nobody at the State Highway Administration will be able to sit down and track the travel pattern of their wife's suspected lover."

--David J. Lovell, a civil engineering professor at the University of Maryland and a consultant on a project in which transportation officials will measure Capital Beltway congestion by tracking motorists talking on cellular phones.

--Page A1