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Four alarm warehouse fire sends smoke over Baltimore

Baltimore fire crews battled a four-alarm fire Monday at a warehouse in the Fairfield area of South Baltimore.

The blaze, which started Monday morning, put off a large plume of smoke visible across the Baltimore area earlier in the day. Firefighters were expected to be on the scene overnight, officials said.

The call came in around 6:45 Monday morning and fire officials said 118 firefighters and 36 pieces of apparatus had been fighting the blaze at 1026 E. Patapsco Ave. throughout the day.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Baltimore Fire Department spokesman Roman Clark said. No injuries had been reported as of Monday evening.

The 94,000-square-foot warehouse, owned by the secondhand textile company Whitehouse & Schapiro LLC, contains toys, clothing and packing supplies, Clark said.

Company president William Schapiro said he is in shock, but thankful there were no injuries.

“The damage looks extensive and we won't know full extent of it until tomorrow,” Schapiro wrote in an email. “Our concerns right now are for our employees … suppliers and customers worldwide. Finding alternate ways to process our merchandise during the rebuilding of our plant.”

Clark said crews were still on the scene battling the blaze and expected to be there overnight hitting hot spots. Parts of the warehouse roof and rear wall had collapsed, he said.

"This is a very labor intensive situation we have right now," Clark said.

Patapsco Avenue was closed between 9th and 12th streets all day but was expected to reopen when fire crews cleared the scene.

Resident Charles Hynes, 55, said he was shocked by the huge plume of smoke coming from the warehouse. He said it was especially concerning coming just a week after an acid leak in a nearby chemical plant prompted a shelter-in-place warning.

In that incident a leak occurred in the Fairfield industrial area while chlorosulfonic acid was being unloaded from a tanker, according to fire officials. It was stopped after about 90 minutes. No injuries were reported.

"It's just crazy around here. This whole neighborhood is crazy," Hynes said. "There's always something."

Lisa Miller works at By Grace Counseling Services, also in the 1000 block of Patapsco. She said that as she drove to work Monday, she grew increasingly concerned about the black smoke, worried about her workplace. She's also concerned about more air pollution after the acid leak incident.

"This area needs a break," said Miller, 40.

Baltimore Sun reporters Carrie Wells and Jessica Anderson contributed to this report.

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