Strip mall fire ruins 5 stores in Balto. Co. Damage put at $500,000 at Philadelphia Plaza

March 24, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A three-alarm blaze ruined five stores in a strip mall in the 8400 block of Philadelphia Road in Rosedale early yesterday and caused about $500,000 in fire and water damage, but no injuries.

The fire started about 3: 40 a.m. in the ceiling of one of the Philadelphia Plaza's nine stores, said Battalion Chief Patrick Kelly, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Fire Department.

The blaze spread quickly, engulfing a video store, chiropractor's office, beauty salon, and Chinese restaurant, Chief Kelly said. A vacant storefront also was destroyed.

The fire was brought under control at 5: 07 a.m. by 90 firefighters using 25 fire engines, ladder trucks and other units, Chief Kelly said.

News of the destruction elicited sympathy from nearby store owners whose businesses were not destroyed.

"It was heartbreaking," said Joe Izzo, manager of Santoni's of Rosedale, a market next to the video store. "I saw the other proprietors, and I felt bad for them. I expressed to them that if there was anything we could do for them, we would."

Penny Theophanous, manager of Rosedale Pizza, which is two storefronts away from where the fire was extinguished, arrived about 5 a.m., as the blaze was being put out, and was relieved to see that her store had not been damaged.

"When I walked over here, I didn't know if it [the store] was going to be here or not," she said.

Michael Colvin, who lives about 50 yards from the plaza, said the flashing lights of the fire engines woke him.

"The roof was blazing," Mr. Colvin said. "When it hit the video store, it spread. Now, it's one big open-air market."

The cause is under investigation.

Pub Date: 3/24/96

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