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Fire Damages Orchid Greenhouses At UMES

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) — Authorities say a fire caused $6.5 million in damage to an orchid greenhouse facility that covers more than two acres on the University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus.

The blaze broke out Sunday afternoon at the facility leased to a Chinese company and its Maryland subsidiary, U.S. Orchid Laboratory and Nursery, as part of an orchid growing economic development project. The state fire marshal’s office is still investigating the cause of the blaze.

A language barrier slowed communication with onsite workers, but officials say no injuries were reported.

Authorities estimate the fire caused about $6 million in damage to the structure, and another $500,000 in damage to its contents.

Officials say the orchids were being prepared for shipment, so there may have been large amounts of cardboard on site.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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