TANEYTOWN — An afternoon fire in a downtown apartment building yesterday afternoon displaced residents and caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, fire officials said.
The fire at Baltimore and York streets was reported at 12:34 p.m., Deputy State Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said.
Thomas said Fire Marshal Steve Hatchett determined that the blazestarted in a third-floor unit rented by 36-year-old Edward Gilbert, who was not home at the time.
A burner on an electric stove was left on, creating the heat that ignited a stack of newspapers stored above the stove, Thomas said.
Hatchett ruled the fire accidental, Thomas said.
Thomas said there was heavy damage in Gilbert's apartment and the apartment below.
The rest of the building sustained heat, smoke and water damage, Thomas said.
Thomas said the building was condemned for occupancy until the county building inspector tours it later this week.
Building owners Calvin and Carol Amoss were helping residents find other places to stay last night, Thomas said.
Calvin Amoss said he has owned the building since 1979. He said it was built in 1881 and contained eight apartments plus a beauty shop onthe first floor.
He said he believes it was the first major fire to occur in the red brick building.
Amoss said he learned about the fire when he went to a store to buy some sandwiches.
"They told me it was on fire, and then I came down the street, and there were all these fire engines in front of my building," Amoss said.
Evelyn Touchard, a volunteer at the nearby Carroll County Pregnancy Center and Bearly Used Thrift Shop, said she called the fire department when she saw wisps of smoke curling up from the third floor of the building.
About 60 firefighters from Taneytown, Westminster, Reese, Harney, Pleasant Valley, Union Bridge, Emmitsburg, Pennsville of York County, Pa., and Kingsdale of Adams County, Pa., responded to the blaze, Thomas said.
It took them about 30 minutes to bring the fire undercontrol, he said.
There were no injuries, Thomas said.