Three Baltimore firefighters received minor injuries today when the top two floors of a three-story frame building collapsed during a blaze at a tavern in the 4000 block of Frederick Ave. in Irvington.
Fire Department spokesman Capt. Patrick P. Flynn said the firefighters were struck by falling debris during the three-alarm blaze. All three were treated at Mercy Hospital. Their names were not immediately released.
Flynn said the fire apparently started in the kitchen, near a deep fryer, and was "possibly" caused by accumulated grease. Damage was estimated by fire officials at $175,000 to the structure and $100,000 to its contents.
In a second, unrelated fire today, a two-story brick rowhouse at 400 N. Rose St. was damaged in a blaze that may have been caused by careless smoking. No one was injured in the one-alarm fire, which started in a first-floor front room, Flynn said.
Flynn said a woman reportedly left the house, which contained two apartments, minutes before the fire was discovered around 9:35 a.m. The blaze was brought under control about 20 minutes later. It caused $15,000 in damage to the building and $2,500 to its contents, fire officials said.
The firefighters injured in the Irvington tavern fire were among 93 called to the Frederick Bar and Lounge at 10:12 a.m. Police officers on routine patrol spotted the fire in a rear kitchen.
Police said Southwestern District Officers A.C. Rimkevicius and Carl Kaplaka alerted the bartender and two patrons to the fire, then climbed to the second floor, where they awakened two occupants and led them to safety. Occupants of the third-floor apartment were not at home when the fire broke out, police said.
It was not immediately known how many people were left homeless by the fire.
The roof and two upper floors collapsed without warning at 11:40 a.m. About 30 firefighters working close to the building narrowly missed being hit by debris.
Several firefighters had just emerged from a side door after making an inspection of the building when the upper portions fell. They were not struck.
Fearing that more people might have been injured, fire commanders sounded a third alarm immediately after the collapse.