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Baltimore Mops Up From Two Five-Alarm Fires

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Crews finish snuffing out hot spots at a fire that gutted an historic building that housed three restaurants and numerous businesses in the city's cultural district.
Cathy Duchamp
Crews finish snuffing out hot spots at a fire that gutted an historic building that housed three restaurants and numerous businesses in the city's cultural district.

Investigators are working to figure out the causes of two separate five-alarm fires to hit the city of Baltimore in less than a day. One hundred fifty firefighters worked to put out the second blaze overnight in the city's cultural district. Many of the same crews also fought the earlier fire in the city's red light district.

Baltimore Fire Chief James Clack has nothing but good things to say about how his crews performed.

"We've got some of the best firefighters in the country. I'm very, very proud of those overnight folks. They did a great job," Clack says.

The local firefighters' union used the fires to raise issues about slow response times because of station closures. Two or three fire companies throughout Baltimore are closed each night due to budget cuts. Fire department managers say response time was not an issue in these latest fires. Clack says the focus now is finding the cause.

"We've got some amazing cause and origin investigators and they can go into a building like this and tell us right where it started," he says.

Clack does not believe the fire in the Mount Vernon neighborhood is related to the earlier blaze in the adult entertainment district known as "The Block."

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