WOODBINE - A two-alarm fire yesterday morning caused an estimated $60,000 worth of damage to an auto repair shop and sent one firefighter to the hospital with heat exhaustion.
Westminster firefighter Charles Freyman was taken to Carroll County General Hospital at 11:58 a.m., treated for heat exhaustion and released at 12:55 p.m., said Sue Willingham, CCGH public relations director.
Fire companies from Winfield, Sykesville, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Gamber, Westminster and Reese responded, as well as from Lisbon and West Friendship in Howard County and Damascus in Montgomery County.
The fire, whose cause had not been determined as of last night, was called in at 10:17 a.m.
The first units arrived at 10:23 a.m. from Lisbon, which is closest to the site, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas.
Winfield's units arrived shortly after and were in charge of the fire because the building is their jurisdiction.
A second alarm was requested by the Winfield fire chief at 11:24 a.m., said officials at the Carroll County Emergency Operations Center.
An estimated 60 to 70 firefighters fought the blaze, which took about an hour to bring under control, said Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank Rauschenberg, the investigating officer.
"The 1 -story, wood-frame building was used as an auto repair business with storage on the upper level of used auto parts -- tires, old batteries, things like that," Thomas said. "There was no one in the building at the time of the fire."
Because of the type of products kept in the building, however, firefighters had some problems fighting the blaze.
"The oil-based products stored there helped keep the fire going and created an intense amount of smoke," Rauschenberg said.
Winfield Fire Chief Tim Warner said the upstairs of the tin-roof building was gutted, with damage to the downstairs as well.
One witness, Judy Gartrell of Woodbine, said when firefighters first arrived, the structure "was blazing and there was a lot of smoke and the smoke was real black."
"This is a lot of excitement for us. We don't get that much excitement here."
As of last night, Thomas had been unable to reach the owner of the building, who fire officials believe lives in Silver Spring, Montgomery County.
The fire also closed Woodbine Road for more than two hours.
State police turned motorists back at the Woodbine Shopping Center north of the fire scene and at the Carroll-Howard county line south of the blaze.
The building is located next to the Southern States Woodbine Cooperative on Woodbine Road.