A two-alarm fire tore through a high school music building at Glenelg Country School Wednesday afternoon in a portion of western Howard County unserved by hydrant water, forcing fire crews to pull water from a school cistern to battle the blaze, according to the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
The school, in the 12700 block of Folly Quarter Road in Ellicott City, was closed and no students were on campus, but a school employee noticed the fire and called 911, the fire department said.
When crews arrived after being dispatched about 1:20 p.m., they found a 7,000-square-foot "modular structure" on fire. Given the lack of hydrants in the area, an incident commander quickly called for tanker trucks as backup and directed firefighters to begin drawing water from one of two school cisterns with an 800-foot hose, the department said.
It took 30 firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire, which remains under investigation, the department said.
The building's chorus room was heavily damaged by fire and water, while an adjoining instrumental room also had heavy smoke damage, the department said.
A damage estimate was not immediately available, the department said.
The independent school opened in 1954, and has more than 800 students between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade.