Philip Aldinger, owner of Aldinger Signs and Murals, was met with smoke when he first entered his business Friday morning. He said flames started to burst once he opened the door.
Firefighters from Carroll, Baltimore and Howard counties were called Friday morning to extinguish a structure fire on the 2800 block of Liberty Road in Eldersburg. After 45 minutes, the flames were under control.
No people were injured but Aldinger’s two cats died.
Aldinger said he’s been in business for 35 years and he isn’t sure if he will recover. He said he lost his belongings and about $50,000 worth of equipment. He isn’t sure if his insurance will cover all of the damages.
“Everything I have to operate is burnt up,” he said.
Aldinger said he’s been in that location for 10 years and has been there the longest compared with the nearby tenants.
“It’s a tough corner to make it for some reason,” he said.
Aldinger said he burned two fingers and has blisters on two others. He said he’s OK physically and is starting to heal, “but mentally, I’m a wreck.”
“Money would make the healing easier,” he said. “This was the worst time for this to happen.”
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Like most businesses, the pandemic has been hard on his company where he’s the sole proprietor. He lost money and was unable to secure government assistance.
With the help of a stranger, he created a GoFundMe page titled “Help Aldinger Signs rebuild after fire” in hopes to raise $50,000.
Although the fire destroyed Aldinger signs, firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the vacant building connected.
Bill Rehkopf, public information officer for the Sykesville Fire Department, said the time of the call, the firefighters’ response time and the diligence of the crew were reasons it wasn’t worse.
If it had taken another 5 or 10 minutes, it could have been a different story, he said.
“A lot of things went the right way to keep it from being worse,” Rehkopf said.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is still investigating the blaze and the cause of the fire has yet to be reported.