She, Torres and the children watched as firefighters arrived and saw some of them punch holes in the roof to let the smoke out.

Torres saw the smoke trapped inside before it was allowed to escape, followed by flames, through the roof.

"We got to see smoke and then the fire," she said.

Lora's mother, Mercedes Class, of Joppatowne, her husband, David, and son, Alex Lora, 14, were heading to White Marsh to shop when they heard about the fire.

Mercedes Class said she was a regular shopper at Anderson, where she would get keys made, purchase wood, flowers, paint and other supplies.

"They have everything there," she said at the scene. "You want it, they've got it. Everything you want that other stores don't have, they've got it."

The store is owned by Frank Albert Deems Jr., who purchased the business in 1969.

Deems was one of five partners at the time, but he eventually became the sole owner, according to family members at the scene.

Virginia Anderson, of Joppa, the sister of Albert Deems, spent 20 years working at the store as a bookkeeper. She called the fire "devastating."

Son Frank Deems III, a captain in the Baltimore City Fire Department and a volunteer firefighter in Kingsville, got a call from his firehouse in Kingsville about the fire at his family's business.

Deems began working at the store after school and on weekends at age 14 and still worked there part-time, helping his brother, Dwight, who works there full-time managing the business.

"It's tragic, it really is, a lot of memories here," Deems said, his voice breaking.

He said the "best part" of working there was meeting the customers and building relationships with them.

"It was truly a family business," Deems said. "We tried to give the best customer service we could."

He said his 3-year-old son, Frankie, even came to work with him some days.

"He had a time card; he'd punch in and help me fix screens," Deems said.

According to a news release sent shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday by the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company public information officer, fire units from Joppa-Magnolia, Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company, Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. Also responding were the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company and White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company.

Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from a one story hardware store, the release states. Additional resources were immediately requested.

Firefighters took hoses inside the store to begin extinguishing the fire, as well as to protect the search and rescue crews, the release continued. Once it was determined that there were no occupants, firefighters evacuated the building and began fighting the fire from the outside and from ladders.

Joppa-Magnolia's release said the fire escalated to the equivalent of three alarms, with more than 80 firefighters, paramedics and other emergency personnel responding on 31 emergency vehicles.

The Harford County Hazardous Materials Team was dispatched because of the contents of the store potentially being hazardous, and the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office was requested to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

Eight members of the HAZMAT team responded to the hardware store, and deployed booms in neighboring creeks and streams to prevent any materials from getting into local waterways, as well as storm drains, Robert Thomas, spokesman for the Harford County Department of Emergency Services, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.

The two injured firefighters, both men, are with the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department, according to the Joppa-Magnolia VFC news release.

One firefighter was taken by Abingdon Fire Company Paramedic Unit to the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air with a minor injury, and the other was taken by Joppa-Magnolia Paramedic Unit to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center in Baltimore, with minor burns.

Both sides of Route 40 were blocked between Route 152 (Mountain Road) and Joppa Road.

Crews from the Level Volunteer Fire Company and Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace were called to respond to other calls in Joppa-Magnolia's territory until the incident was under control, the Joppa-Magnolia release said.

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

Bryna Zumer contributed to this report.