Approximately 50 firefighters spent about two hours battling a fire Saturday at the abandoned Henryton State Hospital in the Marriottsville area of Carroll County, officials said Sunday.

Brett Pearce, deputy chief of the Sykesville Fire Department, said Sunday the site — which once served tuberculosis patients and, later, mental health patients before it closed in the mid-1980s — has been a hot spot for crime. At least 12 suspicious fires have been set in the last 10 years, Pearce said.

The state fire marshal is investigating Saturday's fire, Pearce said. Officials responded to calls about smoke in the area around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, he said.

Pearce said Carroll County officials have urged lawmakers to tear down the building. He said money had been included in the upcoming state budget, but was stripped out before lawmakers left Annapolis last Monday. The General Assembly may reconvene in a special session to continue to debate budget matters.

Pearce said that the building's third floor was damaged and that the roof was completely destroyed by Saturday's blaze.

No injuries were reported, he said.

The abandoned building has been a place of intrigue for ghost hunters and other trespassers, Pearce said. In addition to the chronic trespassing and arson cases, he said stolen vehicles have also been found at the site.

ywenger@baltsun.com