No one was injured in a fire that engulfed and leveled an old, abandoned furniture store on a back street in Leonardtown on Monday afternoon.
The fire happened diagonally behind the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department, and Chris Bell, the station’s fire chief, said the first fire engine was on the scene within minutes.
“The vacant building was previously occupied by Dooley’s Furniture,” a report from the state fire marshal’s office read. “The building was completely destroyed as a result of the fire and there were no injuries. The incident remains under investigation at this time. Anyone with any information about the fire is asked to contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Southern Region at 443-550-6834.”
The two-story building on the 22700 block on Duke Street caught flames around around 1:25 p.m. Bell called it an “unoccupied structure” and said it has been vacant for at least as long as he’s been part of the department — 15 years. It was also missing a roof long before the fire started.
Leonardtown’s fire chief said the furniture store is no longer open but old furniture was still inside. Now, the chief said, there is nothing left of it, and the building was declared a total loss.
Bell said the fire was spotted by a member of the station as he was “walking out of the fire station completing his daily duty.”
He called it in and the first engine company was on the scene within three minutes.
“It was not something we see often but with a vacant structure, anything can happen,” Bell said. The office of the fire marshal reported that the incident caused about $215,000 worth of damages and the area of origin was in the rear of the building.
The fire chief said it took roughly three hours for the firefighters to dispatch, put out the fire and return back to the station. And in his opinion and experience, three hours to put out a fire of that size is “very good time.”
“Anytime a fire goes through the roof like that it makes for a pretty dramatic picture,” Thomas A. Mattingly Sr., who has been with the Leonardtown fire department for 55 years said. Mattingly, also a former Democratic county commissioner, added that fire was handled pretty well and by the time he arrived there was not much left to do.