November 26, 2005 in Nation/World

Annapolis’ historic district catches fire; shoppers flee

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Firefighters battle a multiple-alarm fire that started on Main Street in historic downtown Annapolis, Md., Friday.
(Full-size photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A fire erupted in a downtown candy store and quickly spread through three buildings in a shopping district full of holiday revelers Friday evening.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries, but no other injuries were reported. It wasn’t immediately clear how the fire began.

The first alarm came at 7:51 p.m. EST, Annapolis Fire Capt. Joseph Martin said. Firefighters believed they had the blaze contained by 10 p.m. but were still fighting to get it under control an hour later.

A full block of Main Street, about a block from the state Capitol, was evacuated as some 75 firefighters battled the blaze.

In all, three brick, row-style buildings that house shops and restaurants caught fire. At one point, there was concern that the roof of one of the buildings would collapse, and firefighters were briefly ordered out, Martin said.

The area around the Statehouse is home to historic row houses and other buildings, some dating to the 18th century. Today, it is popular for shopping, dining and nightlife.

In 1997, another fire broke out during the holiday shopping season and destroyed five buildings in the historic district, causing $1 million in damage.

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