BALTIMORE — "The volume of fire last night, 5 units that were involved there. It posed a big issue," said Rich Langford, president of the Baltimore firefighters union.
It took 90 city and county firefighters and over 5 hours to put out the three-alarm fire at Edmondson Village Shopping Center Saturday night.
Baltimore City firefighters arrived at about 10 p.m. to heavy smoke in several buildings with fire through the roof and were still on scene Sunday morning putting out hot spots.
"You had different issues with the roof collapsing and it's hard to get to all that smoldering underneath all that debris," said Langford.
No one was injured but five businesses were destroyed, including Fashion Town, Jackson Hewitt, Family Dollar and the Edmondson Pharmacy.
"That provides medicine and treatment for people who need it in the area so obviously that creates another burden for our seniors and people who may be dealing with medical issues during this time," said Councilman Councilman Kristerfer Burnett.
"It’s really unfortunate. I know a lot of people come here to shop so that fact that there's a pharmacy there, a Family Dollar, just low cost things just for household items. Now people have to go far to get these things," said shopper Thomas Mathews.
This is the second fire at the shopping center in just over a year.
In November of 2019, a fire destroyed a different portion and the Baltimore City Fire Department was never able to determine a cause. Burnett said it’s a because a broken gas line kept the fire going and it created too much damage for any evidence.
"The gas lines fueled the fire which is what happened before and so I’m in communication with BGE to see what more needs to be done on that to upgrade the infrastructure," said Burnett.
Burnett and neighbors hope this is the push the property owner needed to revamp the center.
"It’s a very old building and over the years, we’ve pushed the owner to invest in the property. We will continue to have those conversations," said Burnett.
"Hopefully they figure out what happened and come to an agreement to restore the whole shopping center because that what we all need at this certain location," said Mathews.
The cause is still under investigation by the city fire marshal, as well as a private team hired by the property manager.
Since 10pm, #BCFD continue to battle 3-alarm fire at the Edmondson Village Shopping Center. Heavy smoke remains visible from at least two stores. As firefighters continue to put the fire out, the cause remains under investigation. pic.twitter.com/buMCys3hS4— Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) January 24, 2021
Langford said about five hours into the fire, car drove through the fire scene, causing extensive damage to equipment.
He said nobody was hurt and the driver was taken from the scene by Baltimore Police.
"At a big fire like that that, he just drove through like… I don’t know what he was thinking and that’s for the police department to handle. Luckily our members were safe," said Langford.
During last nights 3 alarm fire, a civilian vehicle barreled through the fire scene, causing extensive damage to #BMORESBravest equipment. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. The driver was transported from the scene by @BaltimorePolice @FOP3.— Baltimore Firefighters IAFF Local 734 (@BCFDL734) January 24, 2021
Original post: https://t.co/e1DRXg5Spm https://t.co/qJvXEkGbvF pic.twitter.com/jrQFaRTzrk