Capt. Roman Clark, a department spokesman, said about 60 residents in the block were evacuated. No homes were involved in the fire, but heavy smoke and the fire's proximity to residences spurred the evacuation, said Chief Kevin Cartwright. An MTA bus was called to shelter residents.
Power was also out in the immediate area.
The warehouse, owned by the Eastern Plating Co., contained hazardous chemicals that were used on a daily basis, Clark said. The department has not identified the chemicals, he said.
The fire broke out about 8:30 p.m. and was contained about three and a half hours later, Clark said. The fire was heavy, but no injuries were reported early Monday. Firefighters set up a "collapse zone" and reported intense fire conditions caused by a partial collapse in the rear of the building.
At least twenty-four units and nearly 90 personnel responded, officials said. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters used hand lines, master streams and aerial ladders to battle the blaze.
The persistent sirens alerted nearby residents.
Melissa Kobelinski and her fiance Jesse Godsey, who live nearby on South Highland St., watched the fire from a block away late Sunday.
The couple began hearing sirens around 9 p.m. More than usual, they said, for Baltimore. "When you start to hear them for a half hour, you know something's going on," Kobelinski said.
The couple searched the web and learned the fire was near their place. They heard neighbors were being evacuated and packed a bag just in case they would be told to leave too.