Baltimore Firefighters Battle Massive Downtown 5-Alarmer


Baltimore city fire crews are currently working to control a multiple-alarm blaze in a section of the city known as The Block.

Firefighters were called to a building in the 400 block of East Baltimore Street shortly before 4 p.m. 11 News has learned that the blaze may have begun at Gayety Show World, one of the oldest buildings on The Block.

Smoke could be seen billowing into the air. View More Fire Images

Sky Team 11 video showed massive smoke coming up from the downtown buildings.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the fire commissioner said no injuries had been reported and that the fire was mostly under control.

Officials said the blaze spread to several other buildings, but there is no word on exactly how many were affected. Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said the MICU building in that area was damaged.

Officials said no city buildings in the area were affected but some were evacuated.

Witnesses told 11 News reporter Kerry Cavanaugh that quite a few people were inside the building when the fire broke out.

Several roads in the area have been blocked off to fight the fire. Police said some of the notable closures include the area immediately within and surrounding Calvert Street to the west, President Street to the east, Lexington Street to the north and Lombard Street to the south.

"Detour" Dave Sandler reported that the Jones Falls Expressway was also shut down at about the same time at the bottom end due to a multiple-vehicle crash around Chase Street. By 5:40 p.m., one lane of the JFX northbound had been reopened, but traffic was still clogged up.

Fire officials said the heavy wind played a role in the spread of the fire.

"The wind certainly contributed to the intensity," Cartwright said. "It's necessary for us to surround the building and place companies on each side to limit the spread of the fire."

Gayety Show World is an adult video and book store.

Copyright 2010 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.