Four unrelated fires occurred in three hours Thursday night in Anne Arundel County, damaging a $400,000 boiler room at a Curtis Bay chemical plant as well as buildings at three other sites.
Damaged were a condominium building being built in Odenton and two vacant houses in Millersville and Glen Burnie, officials said.
One person was slightly injured. The four blazes kept more than 100 firefighters working into the early hours yesterday.
"We were very busy, but certainly we had everything covered," said Lt. Robert Kornmann, a fire department spokesman.
The first fire was reported at 9:13 p.m. at Chemetals in the 700 block of Pittman Road, near the Baltimore line. Fire officials said a mechanic, Dennis Gill, 40, had been switching the boiler from natural gas to Number 2 heating oil when the large boiler $H exploded, damaging a 50-foot by 30-foot cinder-block building.
"Miraculously, Mr. Gill suffered only a small laceration to his lip," Lieutenant Kornmann said, adding that the man was treated at the scene by paramedics.
The cause of the explosion was still under investigation yesterday, but officials said no other buildings at the plant were damaged and no chemicals escaped. Although roads leading to the plant were closed, no residents were evacuated.
A second alarm was struck at 9:19 p.m. The blaze was brought under control at 10:10 p.m.
10:25 p.m., county firefighters were called to a vacant dwelling fire at East Park Drive and Crain Highway in Glen Burnie. Officials said a one-story house was engulfed in flames and the fire has been labeled arson.
At 11:13 p.m., firefighters in Millersville responded to another fire in a vacant one-story house at Brightview and Larbo roads. Lieutenant Kornmann said that the blaze has been labeled suspicious. Both fires were extinguished within 45 minutes.
At 11:48 p.m., a condominium building under construction in the Piney Orchard development in Odenton was reported in flames.
Lieutenant Kornmann said that firefighters arrived to find the roof and third floor on fire. A second alarm and a third alarm were struck at 11:58 p.m. and 12:10 a.m., respectively. He said the complex was 80 percent completed.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation yesterday, and fire officials could not immediately provide a damage estimate.