Investigation continues after fire crews able to get large warehouse fire under control. (WJZ)
A four-alarm fire Thursday night at the Schenuitt Rubber building was not the first blaze at the three-story vacant warehouse in Woodberry, which has long been slated for development.
More than 120 firefighters and 39 pieces of firefighting equipment were called about 9 p.m. Thursday to 1760 Union Ave. to battle the blaze.
Residents in the nearby neighborhoods of Medfield and Hampden reported heavy smoke, which prompted officials to shut a stretch of Interstate 83 and service to a nearby light rail stop.
"We're very disheartened that it has again burned. We were very optimistic about its transformation," Sheri Higgins, a board member of the Woodberry Community Association, said about the warehouse, which had recently been put up for sale.
On Feb. 21, 2010, more than 100 firefighters responded to a five-alarm blaze at the building, which also prompted officials to close the nearby light rail station. The 41st Street bridge over I-83 was used as a platform to spray water onto the building during that fire.
The 2010 blaze destroyed a significant portion of the property, including the roof, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.
The fire department has responded three times in recent years to the Union Avenue warehouse. In 2012, firefighters were called twice for mattress fires and once because homeless people were using the area.
Higgins said it's "very discouraging" that the building has remained vacant after being targeted for redevelopment.
The building is the last significant industrial structure in the area that remains to be converted. Before housing a tire factory, the building was a cotton mill. Parts of the building date back to the 1840s.
Conor Creaney of Remington Properties, a co-owner of the building, said he purchased it about a year ago but put it on the market last month after he and the other owners decided not to do the redevelopment themselves.
On Friday, he said he walked through the building with a firefighter to assess the damage, which he said did not appear to be structural.
"It appears to be in areas that were previously damaged in fires," he said.
Once firefighters have declared the building safe, he said, crews will be called in to board up entryways.
Firefighters battled Thursday's blaze from the outside out of concern that the building was unstable, said Blair Adams, a Fire Department spokeswoman. She said Friday morning that the roof collapsed through the second floor.
At nearby Union Craft Brewing, employees tweeted Thursday night that the brewery was safe. Some light smoke entered the building, causing concern among employees that there might be a fire at the brewery, said Union Craft co-founder Jon Zerivitz.
Adams said that the fire was under control just after 4 a.m. and that units remained on the scene overnight.
Southbound Interstate 83 was reopened and light rail service was restored about 5:30 a.m. Friday.
No one was injured, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
City firefighters have battled several multi-alarm blazes at large vacant buildings recently.
On Monday, they responded to a three-alarm fire at a vacant warehouse at South Calverton Road and Frederick Avenue in Southwest Baltimore. Firefighters remained until the next day to put out the flames.