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Damage from five-alarm Fells Point fire estimated at $1.5M

The damage from the five-alarm fire that destroyed a Fells Point building Monday is estimated at $1.5 million, fire officials said Thursday.

The fire caused $500,000 in damage to the three-story Fresh Food Market building at 517 S. Broadway and $1 million in damage to materials inside, Baltimore fire spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said.

Baltimore fire investigators and police arson detectives are working to identify the cause, but fire officials warned it could take some time because the building is large and unsafe. The fire was contained to the partially vacated building, but the large amount of smoke it created could be seen hovering of the city's skyline.

Fire officials said 120 firefighters from Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties responded to the blaze at the partially vacant building, which housed a grocery market on its first floor.

The fire largely brought the neighborhood to a standstill Monday afternoon, billowing huge clouds of black smoke through the streets, jamming afternoon traffic, knocking out power and disrupting business for dozens of shops and restaurants.

Firefighters first received calls about the fire about 1:40 p.m. Monday, and saw "plumes of smoke across the skyline" as they approached, Cartwright said.

The blaze wasn't brought under control until about 5:45 p.m, and many firefighters continued to hose down the building long after that, Cartwright said.

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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