Three firefighters were slightly injured battling a fire this morning at a commercial building in Parkton, Baltimore County authorities said.
The blaze was reported just before 3 a.m. at the Little Gunpowder Falls General Store on Frederick Road. Authorities said the flames were fueled by heavy timber and a lack of hydrants. Crews had to draw water from the Gunpowder Falls to put out the fire.
The fire burned through four fiber-optic lines and caused an outage in Verizon's phone service, company representative Sandy Arnette said.
The outage disrupted Verizon land lines and cell service in Parkton for a 1-mile radius north of Middletown, Arnette said. The outage had the potential to affect 3,000 customers, but Verizon received only 600 reports of disruptions, according to Arnette.
Workers began to repair the cables soon after the fire department finished their investigation. Two cables had been replaced by midafternoon, and Verizon expected to have all four fixed by late tonight.
Service will gradually be restored to customers throughout that time, Arnette said.
County spokeswoman Elise Armacost advised that in case of an emergency, people without phone service should go to the nearest fire agency. There was also an increase in the number of police on the main roads in outage areas, Armacost said.