Fifty tenants and more than 100 employees have been displaced as a result of a six-alarm fire that extensively damaged the Hillendale Square building in the 1000 block of Taylor Ave. in Baltimore County.
The fire, believed started by an electrical malfunction in a third-floor office, was discovered at 5:30 a.m. yesterday by a passing cab driver who called the fire department, police said.
No civilians were injured, but five firefighters were treated at hospitals for minor injuries, smoke inhalation or heat exhaustion, police said.
Nearly 200 firefighters from at least 20 paid and volunteer fire stations battled the fire for three hours before bringing it under control, police said. At the time, temperatures outside were above 80.
The three-story brick building, built in the early 1960s as the headquarters for the Phillips Petroleum Co., housed several firms, including the Maryland branch of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Also displaced by the fire was the Pinkerton Security Agency, the National Voluntary Health Agencies, at least one computer firm and several sales companies.
The building's third floor was extensively damaged by fire, water and smoke. The second and first floors had mostly smoke and water damage.
Heat, estimated at more than 1,000 degrees, caused several areas of the building's exterior to crack.
County building inspectors were on the scene shortly after the fire was extinguished to determine what action should be taken to ensure the building's safety.
Police said the building will not be fit for occupancy for an indefinite period of time.