West Baltimore Street Fire Update – HFD

HAGERSTOWN – Sunday, 24 March 2024, at 6:33PM units from the Hagerstown Fire Department were alerted for a house on fire at 26 West Baltimore Street. Engine 1 arrived to find a 2-1/2 story wood frame structure, combination of residential and commercial, with smoke showing from multiple openings. Battalion Chief 3 immediately upgraded the assignment to a working fire, bringing additional resources. Initial crews attempted an interior fire attack, but due to a well- advanced fire, accompanied with building construction, layout, and contents, those crews were forced to withdraw from the structure and switch to a defensive posture (exterior fire attack).

This was a labor-intensive incident as the fire progressed, as crews had to utilize tools and saws to open up the building from the outside to extinguish the fire. A second alarm was sounded for additional resources and personnel to assist on the incident scene. At one point, three aerial master streams and additional ground-based master streams were utilized to control the fire. A master stream is capable of delivering at least 500 gallons of water per minute.

After the master stream devices were able to control a large portion of the fire, a structural assessment was completed and crews transitioned back inside the building to continue opening up walls for the extinguishment of fire. Two firefighters were injured during the incident and transported to Meritus Medical Center where they have since been released. This fire required an extensive use of automatic and mutual aid resources, including a callback of off-duty HFD staff, with 90 personnel operating on the incident as either fire suppression or support personnel.

Assistance was received from the following:

  • All Hagerstown Fire Department Resources
  • Community Rescue Service
  • Funkstown
  • Greencastle
  • Hagerstown Auxiliary Police
  • Hagerstown City Light
  • Halfway
  • Leitersburg
  • Longmeadow
  • Maryland State Fire Marshal
  • Maugansville
  • Smithsburg
  • Washington County Division of Emergency Services
  • Washington County Emergency Services Support Unit – Air and Rehab
  • Washington County Fire Police
  • Washington County Fire Rescue Association Safety Officers
  • Williamsport

Crews remained on the scene throughout the night, and are still on scene assisting the fire marshal. The Hagerstown City Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating, being assisted by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office. This is an active investigation, with no comment yet on cause and origin.

This is the third fire, and second significant fire in the last four days within the City of Hagerstown. The HFD would like to remind everyone the importance of actively practicing fire safety by performing the following:

  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms. City residents can contact the HFD for assistance at 301-791-2544.
  • Remain in the kitchen while cooking
  • Close while you doze – keep bedroom doors shut at night while asleep
  • Have and practice an escape route with your family, to include a meeting place
  • Notify the fire department immediately if you have a fire
  • If you do experience a fire, upon evacuating, close the door behind you if safe to do so
  • Do not reenter a building that is on fire – get out and stay out