Fire at Maryland Metals division in Hagerstown destroys storage building

December 08, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - Fire officials on Monday did not have an estimate of the damage from a Sunday fire at Maryland Metals' New Steel Products Division at 620 Mitchell Ave.

A storage building was destroyed and a section of a wall and part of the roof of the main building at that site were badly damaged in the fire, which was reported at 10:31 a.m. Sunday, Hagerstown Fire Department Chief Gary Hawbaker said.

A 20-by-20 foot section of the main building's rear wall was damaged and the contents of the storage building were destroyed, Hawbaker said.

The New Steel Products Division was closed Monday, but the company's main headquarters on West Church Street was open. The company also provides metal recycling and processing services.


One firefighter who responded to the fire was injured, Hawbaker said.

A firefighter was holding a ladder when another firefighter slipped on the ladder and fell down on top of him, Hawbaker said. The firefighter who was holding the ladder was taken to Washington County Hospital, where he was treated for a knee injury and released, Hawbaker said. The other firefighter was not injured, he said.

When firefighters arrived, heavy black smoke and fire were coming from the roof in the back of the building, Hawbaker said.

The department put the fire out quickly, but strong winds made it difficult to keep it out, Hawbaker said.

"We had wind gusts of 49 mph, so ... every time we would hit it with water, the flames reignited," he said.

It took about an hour to put the fire out, Hawbaker said.

The Hagerstown Fire Marshal's office was investigating the cause of the fire, Hawbaker said.

About 42 firefighters responded to the fire, and the Washington County Emergency Rehab Unit and the Emergency Air Unit also responded, he said.

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