PORT DEPOSIT — An investigation is continuing after a raging blaze destroyed an abandoned building at the former Bainbridge Naval Training Center on the property adjacent to Port Deposit on Wednesday, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
A person who was in nearby Port Deposit called 911 at 11:34 a.m., after noticing smoke rising from the large two-story building, which investigators described as a former dining hall, fire officials reported.
Using tankers to transport water to the scene and numerous of other pieces of equipment, including ladder trucks, approximately 50 firefighters with several area volunteer fire companies battled the blaze for two hours, before bringing it under control, fire officials said. Water Witch Volunteer Fire Co. (Port Deposit) served as the on-scene command unit, fire officials added.
“The building was fully involved before firefighters could access the area,” Sr. Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver J. Alkire, an agency spokesman who was at the scene, told the Cecil Whig.
The layout of the property posed logistical problems for firefighters, according to Alkire, who explained, “There are no (water) hydrants, so they had to shuttle water in. There is only one way in and one way out, so they had to coordinate the shuttling of water to the scene.”
Alkire identified Bainbridge Development Corp. as the property owner.
An ambulance crew transported one firefighter from the scene after he experienced a medical episode relating to high blood pressure, Alkire said. That firefighter was treated at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace and then was released, he added.
On Thursday, MOSFM detectives continued their investigation to pinpoint where the blaze started and what caused it, according to Alkire.
“It is an abandoned building with no electricity. It is a massive building; I couldn’t even begin to estimate how big the structure is,” Alkire said. “Due to the massive size of the building and the extensive damage it sustained, it would be nearly impossible for us to determine the exact spot, or origin, of where the fire started.”
Anyone with information that might help in this investigation is asked to call the Northeast Regional Office of the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal at (410) 836-4844.