By Mike Schuh

Two five-alarm fires ripped through two well known parts of downtown Baltimore. The most recent happened in Mt. Vernon.

Mike Schuh reports the return to normal is still a long way off for dozens of workers in Mt. Vernon, after Tuesday’s five-alarm fire.

The Mt. Vernon fire came less than 12 hours after the other five-alarm fire on “The Block.”

Both fires caused extensive damage.

The fire broke out in the 800-block of North Charles Street.

Some of the area’s most popular restaurants have been reduced to rubble.

“From my bedroom I can see the front of the building. So I decided to come down to check it out, because I had just left a few hours earlier,” said Joey Olson.

Joey Olson works at the original Donna’s Cafe, which is just one of five restaurants forced to close, including two restaurants, as well as other Afghan cuisine places.

Some could re-open in days.

“There’s water damage. There’s smoke, but hopefully they will take care of it today,” said Sadia Akbari.

“A friend of mine lives right across the street and he said that when this first started it was like an apocalypse almost,” said one man.

“It is dangerous and looks at the water coming down. You know? Give them a lot of credit,” said one woman.

Fighting the fire did require an incredible amount of water, which quickly froze over.

“We don’t know the cause yet. We do know it started on a lower floor and went up the building through some pipe chases and got into the attic space. The guys did a great job here, but it was a very, very tough fire,” said Chief Jim Clack, Baltimore City Fire.

Things got so icy firefighters called for a salt truck.


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