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For the first time since the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 fire equipment from the Nation’s Capital was sent to assist the Baltimore City Fire Department. Between 5:30 PM and midnight there were two four-alarm fires and a two-alarm fire in Baltimore.
It started with rowhomes burning on the west side of the 1300 block of North Calhoun Street in West Baltimore around 5:30 PM. Before long flames were coming from homes on the east side of the street. Four-alarms were called to handle the fires on both sides of the street.
Just past 6:30 PM two other rowhomes were burning two blocks to the east, in the 1300 block of North Carey Street. Many units from the Calhoun Street fire were then deployed on Carey Street. Operations Chief Donald Heinbuch walked over from the initial fire and took command. Fire Chief Jim Clack initially took the Charlie sector. This fire also went to four alarms.
Baltimore City required much mutual aid from around the region to respond to the additional alarms and fill firehouses.
Sources indicate that the DC Fire & EMS Department sent the following units and command staff to the Steadman fire station: E-10, E-16, T-13, BC-4, FC Rubin, AFC-O Schultz, DFC-CA Crosswhite, and DFC-Special Operations Gill. (Note: In 1904 the DC fire equipment went via the B & O Railroad.)
Around 11:00 PM firefighters were called back to the 1300 block of North Carey for a rekindle. It was held to a single alarm.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 caught the start of the second fire, right across the street from the first one on North Calhoun Street. Three rowhomes were ablaze and wind is most likely to blame.
“It certainly could have played a factor in the second fire; we don’t know at this point. But when the initial companies arrived on location, there was very, very heavy fire and smoke conditions. Some embers may have blown onto these other homes,” said Kevin Cartwright.
One hundred firefighters and 40 engines and trucks saturated the area, shutting down several streets. When the first and second fires were smoldering, there was another call. The third fire started just blocks away on Carey Street. Fire officials say the wind may have blown embers over to that block, but it could have been something else. Arson has not been ruled out.
As these fires burned Baltimore’s IAFF Local 734 sent this email at 7:01 PM:
The fire originating in the 1300 block even side of N Calhoun Street has extended across the alley to the 1300 block odd side of N Carey Street. A second alarm has been requested for that fire, in addition to the four alarms on N Calhoun Street. These fires have over 25 of Baltimore’s Fire engines and over 10 of its Hook and Ladder trucks on the scene. Remember, due to the budget cuts from the Mayor and City Council, there are currently 3 units sitting in stations unmanned in order to save money.
There was also another multi-alarm fire (see video below). This time the fire was in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood at Charles Street and Madison Street.