When he turned onto South Broadway Monday afternoon, it didn't take long for Martez Branch to realize something was wrong.
"The whole top of the roof was engulfed in flames," he said. "And as I was coming down the street I noticed, like, workers were still in the building and so I had to hurry up and let them know that the roof was on fire."
Soon, much of the city would be able to see the smoke rising from the fire. The fire started around 2:30 p.m. at S Broadway and Gough Streets in Fells Point.
Branch ran inside the busy pizza restaurant on the ground floor of the building where the fire started and told everyone to get out.
Marcela Zavala works in an office next door to the building.
"I heard people screaming so that's why we realized there was something going so that's why we left the building," she said.
Zavala is a tax preparer, it was a pretty bad time to lose access to the office with taxes due that night.
"I had a couple of clients today and I just let them know the others weren't coming and that we were going to help in another office," she said.
Fire crews spent most of their time focused on the upper floors and the roof. Investigators said that the fire started on the roof.
"Their preliminary assumption is that it may have started with workers on the roof of the building," said Baltimore City fire captain Roman Clark.
While fighting the fire, one firefighter sustained an injury when he fell from a ladder. Rescue crews had to transport him to University of Maryland Shock Trauma.
The firefighter has been released from the hospital. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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