Shortly after midnight the winter’s first snow began to fall in Baltimore. The peaceful tranquility in Mount Vernon was broken up around 12:44 AM when Fire Communications began receiving phone calls reporting a building fire at Calvert and Read Streets. When the first arriving units got on the scene they found a corner 3-story commercial building attached to a large parking garage with heavy smoke conditions throughout. Battalion Chief 2 arrived on the scene and made it a working fire. He requested Rescue 1 to the front of the building to help gain entry by removing the security bars on the front door and windows. As companies made their way into the first floor fire was showing on the second and third floors.
Battalion Chief 2 requested a second alarm and advised companies operating inside not to advance too far into the building. By now companies in the rear reported heavy fire showing from the upper floors and through the roof. Battalion Chief 2 then withdrew all companies from the building to begin exterior operations. As companies began setting up ladder pipes a third alarm was requested at 1:03.
Crews continued to battle the blaze for another 90 minutes before gaining control of it and placing it under control. A fire wall prevented the fire from spreading to the attached parking garage. There was a partial collapse of the roof into the interior. The fire was contained to the original building which housed offices on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors. The temperature that night was 19 degrees and an MTA bus was brought to the scene to shelter any of the residents of the apartments while fire operations were going on.
Fire investigators were called to the scene and crews worked into the morning hours overhauling and mopping up hot spots.