Firefighters in Baltimore County on Thursday afternoon battled a fire in the 2400 block of Frederick Road between Oella Avenue and Hillside Road, getting it under control at about 6:30 p.m.
Officials from the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department said it was on scene of a working dwelling fire at a “large Victorian balloon frame” house with heavy fire showing from the second and third floors.
The house is abandoned, according to Elise Armacost, Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman.
The house was built in 1808, according to online property records.
Joe McRedmond, one of the owners of the Rooster & Hen general goods store just down the street from the fire, said he saw “billowing, black smoke.”
“Of course, we were worried the woods might catch fire and spread to the store,” he said. So he and his wife, Allison Smith, scooped their children out of the store and evacuated, just to be safe.
Within half an hour, the fire department said the fire had been contained to the abandoned home, so the two re-opened their shop.
McRedmond said the house has been abandoned since “probably the mid-90s.”
For awhile, the house, which McRedmond describes as in “pristine” condition, was a bit of a destination for photographers and other aficionados.
About two years ago, he said, the site became more popular for visitors.
“Seriously, daily, there’s a group of kids that go there,” he said.
Baltimore County Public Schools spokesman Brandon Oland said all students from Westchester Elementary School on Old Frederick Road were able to make it home, after road closures from the fire temporarily restricted one bus.