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There is a five-alarm fire in the 400 block of East Baltimore Street in Downtown Baltimore. The location includes what is left of Baltimore’s famed “Block”, a legendary row of adult entertainment businesses. The fire spread to at least four buildings including the Gayety Show World, a well-known Baltimore strip club.
The quotes of the day about this fire come from WBAL-TV I-Team reporter Jayne Miller who chatted with two people very familiar with “The Block”:
“We had basically nothing on. We only had our outfits on. We had to run to the back and grab anything we could and run out buck naked. Anything we had on — we just had to go outside,” she said.
“They were pretty much naked as can be. Girls were running out with things jiggling, and they ran across the street to get dressed. Some of them were getting dressed right out front real fast.”
The brown high-rise building to the left is 401 East Fayette Street. That is the home of city offices including the Baltimore City Fire Department. It is separated from the fire building by a narrow alley.
At the height of the fire there was also a working house fire in the 900 block of Poplar Grove Street.
The city is now getting a good deal of mutual aid from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County and Howard County.
Bright flames erupted from the roof of a building at the corner of Holliday Street and Fayette, forcing firefighters who were breaking windows to climb down from ladders.
Firefighters said flames blew across the roofs of the four buildings on Baltimore Street and flames filled a narrow alley separating the buildings from fire headquarters. Firefighters could be see silhouetted in the windows of the fire dept headquarters, ready to take action if the fire spread.
The five alarm fire brought 125 firefighters, said fire department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright.
“The wind always plays a role in the intensity of the fire,” said Cartwright.
The city fire union, on its Twitter page, reported that the fire had reached a fifth alarm and that the two nearest truck companies were closed as part of the department’s rotating closures. (In a message sent around 7:00 PM IAFF Local 734 corrected the information to say the closest truck, Truck 1, was out of service because of mechanical issues. Truck 2, which would have been the next closest, was closed permanently in 2009. Above you will find a link to the complete message.)
The eight or nine story brown building to the right of the screen in this video houses Baltimore City Fire Department Headquarters.
“The fire is nearly under control,” said Chief Kevin Cartwright. “We believe at this point four to five buildings have suffered damage…soon as the conditions are safe to do so, we’ll have our investigators go inside and determine what caused the fire.”
Firefighters are attacking from the top, pouring water on the affected buildings. The fire began at 404 E. Baltimore Street, which contains two clubs and a bookstore. It’s spread down the block, as far as a restaurant named Crazy John’s.
Watch at the end of this video as the wind sends the smoke pushing down East Baltimore Street, “The Block”, catching the bystanders.
Another view from the window of a building.
This video, while sideways, shows part of the roof caving in.
Just a few master streams in operation.
From above, the view from the Baltimore Street side this evening.
Hooking up to the system at “Headquarters”.
Protecting headquarters and truck crews using fire escapes to open up the top floor.
If you look at the picture at the top of the page you will see people standing on top of about a five-story parking garage on Holliday Street who have a great view of this fire. This is a video from one of those people. This one catches the fireball as part of the roof collapses. You will find better quality video from this vantage point if you click here.