Fire forces evacuation of Towson high-rise

May 12, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

Smoke and carbon monoxide from an underground electrical fire prompted the evacuation yesterday of a 15-story apartment building in Towson that houses elderly and disabled residents, according to Baltimore County fire authorities.

About 200 people - including several in wheelchairs - had to be temporarily relocated to nearby shelters while fire officials worked to investigate the fire with workers from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., a county Fire Department spokesman said.

No injuries were reported, officials said.

Division Chief Michael Robinson, the spokesman, said the Fire Department was called to the Virginia Towers in the 500 block of Virginia Ave. about 1 p.m. for a report of an electrical fire.

When fire crews checked several floors, they found dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide and decided to evacuate the building, which has residents living in 147 apartments, he said.

Fire investigators determined that the electrical fire was underground, outside the building, but the smoke and fumes were venting into the apartments.

Thirty department units and more than 120 emergency workers responded to the scene.

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