GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) ―A devastating fire claims two lives and puts dozens out of work.
Weijia Jiang has more.
More than 24 hours after the fire started investigators say they have no idea how it happened, and the many who earn a living there don’t know when they’ll have a place to work again.
It took 60 firefighters nearly an hour to get flames and heavy smoke under control at the Glen Burnie warehouse, which houses several auto mechanic shops. Then, a search inside led crews to what they feared.
“We have two souls that we lost inside the fire,” said Lieutenant Keith Hamilton, Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
Police have yet to identify the victims, but family members and-co workers say it was 45-year-old Macho Acevedo and 17-year-old Yoni Ramos who lost their lives.
“Sometimes they worked 16, 18 hour days,” said Rob Sanchuk, mechanic. “Instead of going home they’ll just sleep there.”
“We’re in pain because we love both of them,” said Luis Vasquez, Macho’s father-in-law. “Things happen and we have to deal with it.”
Loved ones grieved through the night, and as day broke, they took in the damage. Geraldo Mendes was hoping to drive his car home this weekend. But it is one of many other charred vehicles being towed away.
“It’s really sad, really sad,” said Shirley Alston Waters, victim’s friend. “When I turned the corner to come here my stomach started to buckle.”
“My friend says sorry, man. Your car is garbage right now,” Mendes said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Meanwhile, dozens of mechanics are displaced. Their workspace, wrecked. But no matter the physical damage, they say it’s the pain of losing two friends that hurts the most.
“A good man, a good man he’s working hard,” said Mendes, who was a friend of one of the victims.
The victims’ bodies were taken to the state medical examiner’s office where autopsies are pending.
Family members say the 45-year-old victim was from Puerto Rico, and the teenaged victim was from Honduras.