A two-alarm fire early today did extensive damage to the Columbia Athletic Club in Howard County.
Battalion Chief Donald Howell, of the county Fire Department, said the blaze was discovered by a cleaning lady at about 3:10 a.m. By the time firefighters arrived, the large, one-story block and frame building was engulfed in smoke.
The club is at 5435 Beaverkill Road in the Village of Harpers Choice, several blocks from Howard County General Hospital.
Howell said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Damage was estimated at more than $250,000.
No one was injured in the fire, which took about 40 firefighters nearly an hour to bring under control. Ten fire trucks were needed.