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Modified 12-Nov-19
Created 1-Jan-14
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In the early morning hours of December 27th Fire Communications received a private commercial fire alarm from the Northwood-Appold United Methodist Church located at Loch Raven Blvd. and East Cold Spring Lane in northeast Baltimore. Engine 4 and Truck 29 were dispatched at 3:23 AM. When they arrived there was a haze of smoke blowing across the intersection. They made entry into the front door of the church and found heavy smoke conditions throughout and heard the crackling of fire above them in the ceiling area. They then proceeded to set up a portable monitor pipe inside the front doorway directed up to the ceiling and roof area and asked for the rest of the box assignment to be struck out. The box was dispatched at 3:32 and when Battalion Chief 4 arrived he made it a working fire. Within a few minutes fire was through the roof and blowing out of the upper windows about 75’ in the air. The fire had also gotten into the steeple at the front side of the structure and a collapse zone was established around the building as the incoming companies were setting up ladder pipe operations.
The second alarm was struck out at 3:46 and companies now concentrated their efforts to keep the fire from getting into The Northwood–Appold Community Academy, a charter school attached at the side B and the rear of the church.
At 3:54 the third alarm was struck and companies began to enter the school area at the rear and found that the fire had gotten into it and began to put water onto it with large hand-lines. The fourth alarm was struck at 4:10 as companies now surrounded the building. The fire in the main church area was now pretty well knocked down and units were concentrating their efforts on the fire in the one-story attached school building.
As daybreak came most of the visible fire was knocked down and ladder pipes were still trying to reach the hidden pockets of fire throughout the building.
Over 120 firefighters with 35 pieces of equipment battled the blaze and there were no injuries reported. Fresh crews were brought in at 7:00AM when the day shift relieved the night crews who had subdued most of the flames.
The steeple was still intact, but leaning slightly so Command wasn’t letting any personnel into the building until a contractor came out to take the steeple down.
Fire Investigation and Police Arson were on the scene, as well as agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is now a standard response to any fires in religious buildings. The State Fire Marshal was also on hand.
The Northwood-Appold Church was formed in 1944 when four smaller churches merged and has been a staple of the Northwood community since the church was built 64 years ago.
The 200 member congregation, led by Pastor Cecil Grey, will hold their services across the street at the Northwood-Appold Education Center until the church is rebuilt. The metal cross from atop the steeple that was taken down will be saved for the new building.

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