PERRYVILLE — Fire ravaged a loaded box car on railroad tracks in an industrial complex near Perryville on Tuesday, destroying more than 100 packaged refrigerators valued at over $100,000 and causing injury to two volunteer firefighters, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Both firefighters suffered what investigators described as “non-life-threatening” injuries or medical episodes while battling the blaze on a day marked by mugginess and temperatures in the mid-90s, fire officials reported.
One of the firefighters was treated by paramedics at the scene, where he or she was able to remain, and the other was driven by an ambulance crew to an area hospital, according to fire officials. Due to medical privacy regulations, fire officials declined to identify those firefighters and the volunteer fire company or companies with which they serve.
The fire started shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday outside the GE Appliance Distribution Center in the 200 block of Belvidere Road, where workers were using a metal grinder in an attempt open a stuck door on a CSX Railroad box car, Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire reported.
“The box car was making a delivery to the GE plant, which is a distribution center. Workers attempted to unlock the box car, but it wouldn’t open . . . They used a metal grinder to open the door. A spark from the metal grinder ignited nearby cardboard boxes,” Alkire outlined.
The resulting blaze destroyed 106 brand new refrigerators packed in shipping boxes inside that box car, he reported.
“Each one of those refrigerators is valued at $1,000, so the total loss (for the refrigerators) is $106,000,” Alkire said.
Approximately 75 firefighters with seven volunteer fire companies in Cecil County and two Harford County departments battled the blaze for more than three hours, before bringing it under control, fire officials said. Charlestown Volunteer Fire Co. served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.
Alkire noted that the box car that caught fire contained only refrigerators, commenting, “There were no toxic materials. There is no threat of contamination.”
Stay tuned to cecildaily.com, as more information concerning this fire becomes available.