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Local Leads: Skate or Burn and Courthouse Ghosts

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The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

MANASSAS WITHOUT LADDER TRUCK A replacement fire truck bound for Manassas on Thursday night caught fire, leaving the city without a ladder truck. The city's only ladder truck was set to be placed out of service for maintenance, so OWL Volunteer Fire and Rescue agreed to loan one of their ladder trucks to Manassas. By the time the two vehicles got about half a mile west of Hoadly Road, the 17-year-old ladder truck began billowing black smoke. The driver pulled the truck to the side of the road and got out. Flames burst from the cargo area of the truck behind the driver, said McAllister. (

WHAT A DEAL! Property owners are slashing prices, and local governments are looking to take advantage of the market downturn. Montgomery officials agreed last month to buy the area, a 53-acre ecological refuge, at a deep discount from a developer who had long turned away government suitors. They are paying $8.75 million, roughly half of the $16.35 million price appraised in December. And officials in Virginia last month were able to knock $2 million off what they paid for 1,100 acres of forested waterfront land in Stafford County. The area, known as the Crow's Nest, is near the spot where Pocahontas was said to have been abducted by Jamestown settlers. (Washington Post)

SKATEBOARD STUNT BURNS TEEN A 17-year-old Severn boy said that he won't play with fire again after he accidentally burned himself this week when he set his skateboard on fire for a stunt. Michael Wheatley was riding his skateboard with some friends behind 1661 Meade Village Circle Tuesday night when his shorts caught fire while he was filming a stunt to put on the Internet site YouTube. Firefighters responding to the scene at 7:10 p.m. found the boy suffering from second-degree burns, officials said. They took him to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore with serious, possibly life-threatening injuries, officials said. (The Capital) GHOSTS AT THE COURTHOUSE Rob Orrison said he was skeptical when he got a call from the "Ghost Hunters" about the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre. "They called me randomly out of the blue, and I didn't believe the guy at first," said Orrison, site manager at the center on Bristow Road in Brentsville. The people from the show "Ghost Hunters," seen on the SyFy channel, had heard about the ghosts that supposedly haunt the complex, which includes an 1822 courthouse and jail, an 1830 farmhouse, an 1875 Union Church, a 1928 one-room school house and the Brentsville Tavern archeological site. (

HOME GROWN WEED BUST Deputies on Wednesday arrested a Frederick man after discovering at least 40 marijuana plants, unsophisticated growing equipment and illegal drugs in a house on Crestview Drive, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, Frederick County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. Bronson W. McLain, 31, of the 10100 block of Crestview Drive, was released Wednesday night from the Frederick County Adult Detention Center after posting $35,000 bail, a District Court commissioner said. (Frederick News Post)