Former Pemco Warehouse Ablaze Near Bayview Medical Center

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Photo by David Neubauer

A vacant two-story warehouse close to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center caught fire Tuesday afternoon, sending up a plume of black smoke visible to residents all around the harbor and East Baltimore.

Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said the fire broke out on the upper floor of a two-story warehouse near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Bayview Boulevard.

Photos and video shared on Twitter showed heavy smoke billowing out of the top of the building. ABC2’s Brian Keubler reports nearby hydrants aren’t working – a familiar problem to Baltimore in recent years.

Adams said 12 firefighters and four pieces of equipment were dispatched to the scene. Units were ordered to fight the blaze from the outside only. No one was reported injured as of 1:15 p.m.

The warehouse sits across from Bayview Medical Center, Hopkins’ 440-bed facility in Southeast Baltimore. The hospital said in a statement on Facebook that it shut off its ventilation system “so that no smoke enters the air handling system,” and had closed its Eastern Avenue and Bayview Boulevard entrances. Anyone on the hospital campus was advised to remain indoors.

The warehouse once served as a production facility for Pemco International, which made porcelain and enamel coating for the better part of the 20th century. Baltimore Heritage says the facility was eventually cited for environmental violations, including lead contamination and excessive fluoride emissions.

Tax records show Pemco International sold the warehouse for $3 million in 2014. The buyer, MCB Real Estate, has been eyeing it for a mixed-use development similar to Canton Crossing. Click here to see a rendering of the plan.

Similarly to the former Seagram’s plant a bit further out into Southeast Baltimore County, the Pemco warehouse has a history with fires. WBAL-TV reports it went up in flames in 2015.

Ethan McLeod
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