BALTIMORE — The cause of a fire that ripped through an abandoned commercial building in Charles Village Wednesday morning is still under investigation.
Now that the building has been gutted, many people are wondering where property management stands when it comes to the safety issues surrounding the building.
"I'm not surprised it caught fire," said Alexander McDonald. "I live next door and I heard the banging and saw the smoke. They told me to get out."
McDonald and other people vacated their building when the 4-alarm fire broke out next door around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"It was supposed to be abandoned," said McDonald. "It was boarded up but every once in a while, I would see lights on inside."
As WMAR-2 News has reported the building along with WAZ Management was issued a cease-and-desist order on November 05, 2021. The people who were living inside were forced to vacate. At the time, city officials said they were taking property management to court over the citations and violations at 2126 Maryland Avenue. That court date has since been rescheduled for some time in February.
The Baltimore City Fire Department along with ATF special agents are investigating the fire. Right now, the cause is still unknown.
"I can tell you this, there’s a whole story that goes along with the two slum landlords that owns this place," said Mario Bognanni. "I've called the fire marshal, code enforcement, you name it. I've been dealing with this problem for two years."
They are issues WMAR has reported on in a series of stories, all involving WAZ Management.
On Wednesday, WMAR attempted to speak with the property management company about the fire and subsequent cleanup of debris. We were told to leave the property.
The Department of Housing and Community Development has since condemned the building(s) where the fire broke out.
We're told it took more than 100 firefighters and more than nine hours to get the fire under control.
"I really hope this serves as a warning or a message for the landlords to clean up their act," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
A spokesperson with the city said WAZ Management has a standing court date regarding various property violations. That court date is slated for some time in February.