Several two-story rowhouses, some of them vacant, were heavily damaged last night by a four-alarm fire in the Curtis Bay neighborhood that forced at least one couple from their home, authorities said.
No one was reported injured in the blaze, which officials said began at 4611 Pennington Ave. and quickly spread to at least six other houses on either side - destroying two of them. The rears of most of the houses also were destroyed by fire, which was first reported at 7 p.m.
A brisk breeze helped spread the flames, and the additional alarms were sounded for manpower to contain the blaze.
"We contained the fire between 4607 and 4619 Pennington Ave.," said Kevin Cartwright, a Fire Department spokesman.
A couple who lived in the house where the fire started fled and were being assisted at the scene by the city's Neighborhood Services Agency.
The four alarms brought 50 pieces of equipment and more than 100 firefighters, whose efforts were made harder by the frigid air and slippery conditions. Some were sent into service to spell those who arrived on the first alarms.
Firefighters from nearby Anne Arundel County also responded, Cartwright said.
Huge columns of black and white smoke were visible throughout the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn areas and traffic was detoured from the scene. Many area residents watched as firefighters played tons of water on the burning dwellings.
At one point, firefighters were ordered out of the burning houses for fear it would collapse as roofs sagged. The fire was declared under control at 9:38 p.m.