5-alarm fire hits 8 rowhouses on N. Calvert St. no one hurt

January 16, 1998|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

A five-alarm fire early today destroyed the upper floor of a three-story brick rowhouse in the 2100 block of N. Calvert St. and spread to the roof lines of seven other dwellings, said a fire department spokesman.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was being investigated, said Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres, the spokesman.

Torres said at least 25 pieces of fire apparatus, including at least three aerial towers, several ambulances and more than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze that began about 12: 20 a.m. on the third floor of 2112 N. Calvert.

In less than 40 minutes, the fire spread to other rowhouses on both sides of 2112 and went to five alarms, Torres said. It was declared contained at 1: 30 a.m.

He said two of the rowhouses were believed occupied but that residents fled fire without injury.

The fire occurred about a block north of city Department of Education headquarters, at North Avenue and Calvert Street.

Light early morning traffic was detoured from the scene by police officers.

As firefighters fought to contain the main body of the fire at 2112, flames spread to the upper levels and roof lines of adjoining dwellings from 2106 on the south through 2120 on the north but never reached the lower floors of those houses.

Firefighters atop the houses cut holes in the roofs to allow flames to escape into the air, preventing the fire from spreading any further.

Aerial towers poured tons of water on the rooftops to quench flames that at one point broke through the roof of 2116.

Torres said extra manpower was summoned to the help douse the flames and prevent the fire from destroying any more structures of the even side of the 2100 block.

Police said many of the vacant houses hit by the fire are used by drug addicts or the homeless for shelter.

Pub Date: 1/16/98

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