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Row house fire disrupts a diverse block in Fells Point

Firefighters responded to a fire in the 300 block of Broadway. One of the firefighters was injured during the response and is listed in stable condition. (Tim Prudente, Baltimore Sun video)

All morning, Marcela Zavala saw clients at Liberty Tax Service in Fells Point. By Monday afternoon, one appointment remained — the end of tax day was near.

Then the row house caught fire next door.

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"The IRS won't take that for an excuse," she said.

Fire burned through the roof of the row house on South Broadway Street. One firefighter fell from a ladder and was hospitalized; he was released by evening, officials said.

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Crews arrived about 2:15 p.m., when black smoke was pouring from the roof and rising above the city. A crowd gathered there in the 300 block.

Officials were investigating whether workers on the roof caused the fire, firefighters said. One man arrived, who said he was the landlord, said that workers were repairing the roof. He declined to say more.

The fire on the roof spread to two adjoining houses. Below, the late lunch crowd rushed out of Tela Mares Restaurant. Soon water from the hoses came running down the restaurant walls, said the owner, Nardy Castellon. He was unsure if he could reopen later in the day.

Next door, Daniel Colon, a barber at Aurora's Salon, was cutting a fade when he heard the shouts. He ran outside with the customer, the man's haircut unfinished.

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The salon, tax office, Latin restaurant, pizza carryout and Pentecostal church, with apartments above it all, the 300 block was a diverse stretch of Fells Point.

Shattering glass from the windows woke Eric Du, a neighbor. He works overnight as manager at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in Harbor East.

"I thought it was riots," he said.

Firefighters opened the roof with their saws and axes. The flames were controlled in about an hour and a half, firefighters said.

Austin Sanders' apartment was upstairs and drenched. The cat, Reggie, was missing.

It was his roommate's cat, rescued from the Baltimore streets.

"Can I go in?" he asked.

"It's not safe," the firefighter said.

Later, a firefighter emerged with a small bundle, something gray and moving, Reggie.

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