On Friday, April 23, 2021 what started out to be a routine fire would stretch the resources of the Baltimore City Fire Department to its limit. Once again wind would play havoc with their firefighting efforts. A steady breeze of 10 mph throughout the day and wind gusts of 30 mph at times would play a role in this fire today.
At 1347 hours Fire Box 14-50 went out for a reported dwelling fire in the 300 block of South Fulton Avenue in the Carrollton Ridge neighborhood. When units arrived on the scene they were greeted with heavy fire in the top floors and through the rooves of several vacant 2-story dwellings. Battalion Chief 3 arrived on the scene and took Command. Within minutes the fire was throughout five houses and caught on to the rear of an occupied home around the corner at 1802 McHenry Street. Command then made it a working fire. When Acting Shift Commander Mike Rudasil arrived on the scene he noticed smoke above several houses across the street from the original fire. After a visual inspection in the rear of this side of the street his aide reported heavy fire in the rear of several houses and he requested a second alarm and had those units cover that fire.
Heavy wind gusts apparently blew embers through the air one block east to Mount Street where a fire was burning on the rooves of two occupied houses. Chief Rudasil called for the third alarm and had these companies report to 318 and 320 South Mount Street to handle this fire. Most of the fire was on the roof in between the two houses with slight damage to the interior. Several minutes later a fourth alarm was struck out for additional manpower for the multiple fires now burning.
Command requested assistance from the City Police to have their “Foxtrot” helicopter fly around the area and look for any more fires. A fifth fire was spotted in another vacant house on Bruce Street, a little alley street in between the other two fire scenes. Command requested a fifth alarm on the original box to cover this one. This one turned out to be a small fire on the second floor and was quickly handled.
All five incidents were declared under control in two hours. In all, 12 houses were involved and of these only 3 were occupied homes and all of those occupants got out safely with no injuries. One firefighter was reported to have suffered a minor injury.
160 firefighters with 50 pieces of apparatus responded to the multiple scenes. This left the rest of the City with limited fire protection. Mutual aid companies from Howard, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and even Prince Georges and Harford Counties transferred into the City to backfill the stations left open by the additional alarms as well as the normal daily calls.