A small fire started outside the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.
A small fire started outside the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. (Tim Prudente)

In the Discovery Channel series, host Morgan Freeman explores universal mysteries: truth, life and coincidence. And it just so happened the crew was filming Monday at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum when a small fire started.

Weekdays, the Falls Road museum is usually closed and empty. But volunteers were there about 7:30 p.m. for the filming. Bob Krueger noticed smoke and ran for a garden hose.

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Out back, the mattress where a man sometimes camps was burning. The fire jumped to the museum canopy.

The mattress was "fully engulfed as the firefighters would say," said Krueger, who is not a firefighter, but who staved off the flames with his garden hose. Ashes flecked his cheeks.

Inside were the model trolleys, historic photographs and minutes from transit company meetings — a library of relics from bygone days when 500 miles of rails connected Baltimore and 710,000 people rode daily.

"The library upstairs, there's stuff you can't find anywhere," said the vice president, Ed Amrhein. "There's no replacing any of it."

The museum was smoky, but the collection wasn't damaged.

Down Falls Road, the crew was filming a scene for "Through the Wormhole" with University of Maryland cheerleaders — damsels in distress on the trolley tracks.

The director called a wrap — no sign of Morgan Freeman — and the cheerleaders returned to the museum.

The fire engines left and the canopy was dripping.

"It probably could have been a lot worse," Amrhein said.

A homeless man bunks out back where the fire started, he said, but was not there during the fire.

"You hate to kick him out, but I guess we're going to have to be a little meaner about it."

The smoke lingered inside.

"Hope the smell is gone by the weekend," Amrhein said of another coincidence. "We have a wedding here."

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