Firefighters battled a four-alarm blaze for over five hours after they were called to a four-story Charles North building on Wednesday morning, the Baltimore Fire Department said.
Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark said firefighters were first called to the 100 block of W. 22nd St. just after 4:20 a.m. The department’s spokesman said heavy smoke and fire was showing on multiple floors.
“This is a very labor-intensive fire,” he said. “It was a heavy fire load with a tremendous amount of combustible things inside.”
The fire eventually worked its way up to a fourth alarm, with at least 100 firefighters dispatched to the scene, Clark said.
As temperatures hovered well below freezing at around 25 degrees, firefighters evacuated the building due to the flames throughout the complex and opted to fight the blaze from the outside, the Baltimore Firefighters Union IAFF Local 734 said in a tweet.
The fire was brought under control around 10 a.m. .
The union said in tweets that the building was an apartment building and that people were being rescued by ladders. But, Clark said the building was actually abandoned and that to his knowledge, nobody required rescuing.
“There were reports that people were seen coming out of the building but we could not verify that,” he said.
Baltimore City Department of Public Works was called to the scene, which Clark said is routine, to help ensure the that the fire department was able to access the highest amount of water pressure. He also said crews were able to assist when a few caps flew off fire hydrants, forcing them to be shut off and causing firefighters to find other hydrants. The fire chief said the blip “did not disrupt the response.”
In a statement, DPW spokesman James Bentley said crews turn off certain valves to help increase water pressure.
“It becomes especially important when there are multiple alarms because multiple fire units are using hydrants and that can drain pressure,” he said. “We make sure the pressure can be increased.”
Bentley said solid waste crews will also be deployed to help pick up fire debris, like burned or charred material once the fire is extinguished.
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