Family Hardware Store Destroyed In 3-Alarm Fire In Joppa

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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JOPPA, Md. (WJZ)—A three-alarm fire in Joppa took 80 firefighters to bring under control.

As Mike Schuh reports, federal investigators have been called in.

The smoke is seen for miles.

The three alarms close both lanes of Route 40.

Their focus: the three main buildings of Anderson True Value Hardware, a family business that’s been here since the 1930s.

Wednesday, the fire is out. The business cordoned off. Police crime tape rings the scene.

“Right now we are assessing what we need and what areas we need to get into to evaluate,” said Deputy Chief John Wagner, Maryland State Fire Marshall.

Their work will go slowly.

The fire was the worst in the oldest section, one built with heavy wooden beams.

“It’s heavy timber and a lot of it has collapsed. We need to assess what we need to remove safely,” Wagner said.

Nearby, family and friends of the owners gather, encouraged that everyone is safe as it began after closing time.

Obviously dismayed about what they see.

One of the co-owners was called home from vacation. The other family members were too shaken up to talk about what happened one day after the blaze.

Six people and some part timers work at this store–one that, nearly 80 years ago, began selling agricultural feed from a small building next door.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have been called in.

“They come in on large commercial fires,“ Wagner explained. “They have the additional expertise and additional resources that we can get rapidly.”

Damage here is in excess of $1 million.

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries and should fully recuperate.


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