Bellmire fire called ‘suspicious’ by fire investigator

The city ladder truck sprays water onto the fire from above. (Photo by Dani Blackburn)

By BARBARA GREEN
Just three hours shy of the new year, local firefighters battled a massive blaze Saturday night that destroyed a former business landmark in Bowie.
The fire call came in at 8:57 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 1101 Rock, site of the main building of the former Bellmire Nursing home. Bowie Fire Chief Doug Page said on arrival they found the fire was already through the roof of the 30,000-square foot L-shaped building.
Built in 1963, the Bellmire facility was vacated in 2012 when the home was moved to a new location along U.S. 287 and reopened as Advanced Rehabilitation and Healthcare. Bellmire had operated continuously since 1963 before the move.

There were no utilities and the preliminary investigation leads officials to call it suspicious. It began in an electrical closet off the main hall.

Read the full story in the mid-week News.