Fire breaks out atop 11-story Hopkins Hospital campus building

Plumes of billowing smoke above Johns Hopkins Hospital were visible for miles Wednesday as a ventilation unit caught fire above an 11-story campus building.

The fire broke out at about 10:30 a.m. at 550 N. Broadway — an office building generally called Building 550 — and was contained in about an hour. No one was injured and the building's damage was limited to the roof area, said Chief Kevin Cartwright of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Fire Battalion Chief Ron Hudgins said a unit in the building's cooling tower atop the brick structure malfunctioned, sparking the one-alarm blaze. He said the air system in the building was recently gutted and replaced with a new system, according to university officials.

Workers, evacuated by the building's fire alarm system, were allowed back into the building at about 11:30 a.m.

"We did start to smell something when we went in the hallway," said Shamika Thomas, 24, a university parking employee who was in the middle of a work meeting when the fire alarms prompted everyone to leave.

Cartwright said the fire caused "no smoke inhalation whatsoever" or any injuries.