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2-alarm blaze causes $150,000 in damage at E. Baltimore coffee warehouse

Baltimore City firefighters responded to a 2-alarm fire Monday afternoon at the Eagle Coffee Company at the intersection of Forrest and Hillen Streets.

A two-alarm fire burned an East Baltimore warehouse owned by the city's oldest family-operated coffee distribution company Monday, causing roughly $150,000 in damage, the owner estimated.

Firefighters arrived at Eagle Coffee's flaming two-story brick building in the 1000 block of Hillen St. in the Penn Fallsway neighborhood at about 2:15 p.m., the department said.

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The heavy smoke and flames were escalated to two alarms and took roughly an hour and a half to bring under control, said a Fire Department spokesman, Capt. Roman Clark.

No one was injured, and a few employees inside at the time were able to evacuate the building without assistance from firefighters, Clark said.

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Nick Constantinides, the third-generation owner of the 93-year-old coffee roasting company, said he was told the fire might have been started by a stray cigarette left lit outside.

Fire investigators will determine the official cause.

Eagle Coffee was established in the Inner Harbor in 1921 and moved to its Penn Fallsway location in 1970, Constantinides said. The company employs 20 people and distributes coffee to grocery stores, restaurants and diners, mainly in Maryland and Virginia, he said.

Constantinides said some boxes and supplies — "nothing major" — were destroyed in the fire, but he estimated that the damage to the building could exceed $150,000. The building is insured, and an official estimate will be done Tuesday, he said.

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Ensor Street was temporarily closed from Orleans Street to Greenmount Avenue while firefighters hosed water into the building through broken windows and onto the roof.

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