Mental health clinic damaged by fire HARFORD COUNTY


A two-alarm fire that started in ceiling electrical wiring caused at least $200,000 damage to the Harford County mental health clinic Friday night, authorities said.

More than 100 volunteers from Bel Air, Abingdon, Fallston, Joppa-Magnolia and Level responded to the blaze at the annex on Hays Street in Bel Air.

Using 15 pieces of equipment, firefighters battled the fire for 90 minutes before bringing it under control at 11:30 p.m., authorities said.

Bob Thomas, deputy chief state fire marshal, said the fire started in the ceiling above a furnace and janitorial closet, and spread across the ceiling to the walls.

Extreme heat and smoke from the 50-by-100-foot, one-story brick structure hindered firefighters' attempts to attack the fire from within, and thick black smoke delayed ventilation crews in opening the roof.

The building in the 100 block of Hays St. is owned by Hays St. LTD and is leased to the county. It serves mental health care recipients, Mr. Thomas said.

Most damage occurred in offices and a recreation area.

Firefighters brought the fire under control before it could reach offices containing vital records, authorities said.

L The building was vacant at the time, and nobody was injured.

Mr. Thomas said the damage amount could rise after closer inspection of the building.

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