No one injured in four-alarm fire in Highlandtown

September 05, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A stubborn four-alarm fire in a vacant Highlandtown warehouse kept firefighters busy for hours yesterday as billowing black smoke from Southeast Baltimore fanned out across the city.

There were no injuries, although one of the 100 or so firefighters who fought the blaze was treated for muscle spasms.

The fire began shortly before 10 a.m. in the 100 block of S. Oldham St. Michael Maybin, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Fire Department, said about 50 pieces of equipment battled the fire for nearly 3 1/2 hours before it was brought under control.

"It quickly escalated to four alarms," Maybin said.

Maybin said pallets stored in the building -- along with rubber products -- caused thick, black smoke that attracted spectators from as far away as Boston Street.

"The smoke was so black it looked like diesel fuel," said Almay Sharp, who lives six blocks away. "We could see flames shooting."

It was unclear yesterday who owned the building or several nearby trailers that were also damaged by the fire. Maybin said officials initially had problems reaching the fire's point of origin because portions of the building had collapsed.

While the origin of the fire did not appear to be suspicious, officials were still investigating the cause and trying to assess damage, Maybin said.

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