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baltimoresun.com

Fire strikes Abingdon Denny's

BY MARISSA GALLO, mgallo@theaegis.com

3:20 PM EDT, August 3, 2012

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Several Harford County fire companies responded to a one-alarm fire Friday morning at the Denny's Restaurant near the Route 24/I-95 interchange in Abingdon.

One civilian was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation, according to Rich Gardiner, Harford County Fire and EMS Association spokesperson.

Gardiner was not sure if the civilian was a restaurant employee or a customer.

The fire was contained within 45 minutes, Gardiner said, and the cause is still under investigation.

As employees stood or sat in the shade of trees a short distance away, one kitchen employee said they had smelled smoke and then saw it pouring through the vents and quickly went into the restaurant to tell people to evacuate.

Jim Lyons, vice president of Joppa-Magnolia Fire Company, said his company received the call for the fire sometime between 10 and 10:30 a.m.

Lyons said there were flames at the rear of the building and that also came out from the roof.

Crews from Abingdon, Bel Air, Joppa-Magnolia, Kingsville, Aberdeen and Havre de Grave volunteer fire companies and Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department responded to the fire.

Photographs from the scene showed flames shooting from the roof, later followed by billowing smoke as firefighters sprayed water on the building. Many people stood by watching from a safe distance.

Cheryl Agnello, of Perryman, who works near the restaurant, said via e-mail that she saw the smoke from the fire and began shooting photos about 10:45 a.m.

At 11:30 a.m., firefighters and equipment remained at the scene of the fire in the 1800 block of Edgewood Road, less than a block from a heavily traveled part of Route 24. At that time, Edgewood Road remained blocked off north of Route 24, according to a passerby.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office also arrived at the scene to begin looking for a cause of the fire. Patrick Hess, the restaurant's owner, was also observed at the scene.

Aegis staff photographer Nicole Munchel assisted with the reporting of this story.

Check back with http://www.exploreharford.com for updates.