A two-alarm fire ignited late Thursday afternoon at a downtown Baltimore condominium complex, displacing several residents.
SkyTeam 11 Capt. Roy Taylor said heavy flames and smoke consumed the third floor at 15 W. Biddle St. in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood shortly after 4:30 p.m. Authorities shut down much of the 1500 block of West Biddle Street as firefighters addressed the incident for hours.
Brian Smith, a contractor, had been painting in the building all day. He briefly stepped outside to address a parking issue when he saw smoke and fire.
"We ran back inside and alerted some of the other residents that there was a fire," Smith said. "That was quite frightening ... My guys could have been in harm's way. Thank God we were already outside."
"There was nobody moving. Nobody knew anything right then. So, we went and alerted everybody that we could," said Juan Johnson, a witness.
Two Baltimore City police officers rushed inside the building in an effort to evacuate residents, who had to find a place to stay Thursday night. At lease one of the officers was later taken to Shock Trauma to be treated for smoke inhalation.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found heavy smoke billowing from the fourth floor of the four-story building.
"We were able to contain the fire, but it is labor intensive for the firefighters with all of their turn out gear on and the heat being as hot as it is today," Baltimore City fire Capt. Roman Clark said.
No firefighters suffered any injuries. Fire investigators continued to investigate a cause Thursday night.
Earlier in the afternoon, it appeared that the fire had spread to neighboring buildings, but fire officials said Thursday night that the fire was contained to 15 W. Biddle St., a condominium complex. Residents of the fourth floor who were displaced were offered assistance from the Red Cross.
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