Fire destroys building in Mount Airy Hazmat unit aided in lacquer cleanup

May 25, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

A 40- by 70-foot wooden building used for refinishing furniture burned to the ground yesterday in a fire equal to three alarms.

The building in the 5400 block of Buffalo Road, Mount Airy, carried the name Jack's Refinishing. There were four men inside when the fire erupted around a machine used in the refinishing procedure, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank M. Rauschenberg.

Jack Douglas operated the business in a building owned by his mother, Cathy Douglas, according to the deputy fire marshal.

Damage to the building was estimated at $40,000. There was no immediate estimate of the value of the furniture destroyed inside.

The first firefighters on the scene found the entire building in flames, and they sent for additional equipment from Frederick and Montgomery counties because of the chemicals stored inside.

The U.S. Army hazardous materials -- hazmat -- unit from Fort De

trick in Frederick County also responded for the cleanup of lacquers and thinners, which were allowed to continue burning. Four firefighters from Carroll County specially trained in hazmat procedures assisted the Fort Detrick team.

Assistant Chief Doug Alexander of the Mount Airy fire company said the thinner would ride on top of the water and get into the environment, so the decision was made to let it burn.

The building is about three miles south of Liberty Road in a residential and farm community.

Mr. Rauschenberg said a similar building used for refinishing at the same location burned to the ground about five years ago.

Water to fight the blaze was pumped to the fire from a pond about 1,000 feet away.

One of the four men in the building, who declined to identify himself, said 100 gallons of a chemical used for stripping was in the building.

Neighbors in the area were advised by firefighters to remain inside their homes with their windows closed to keep out the arid smoke.

Firefighters who were near the burning building were required to wear air masks and were hosed down to wash away any contamination from the burning chemicals.

No one was injured.

Medical teams checked the blood pressure of all firefighters who had been in the immediate area of the blaze.

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