Baltimore adult district hit by five-alarm fire

At least four buildings affected, two evacuated, in afternoon blaze spreading through adult venues on "the Block"

Published December 6, 2010 11:15PM (EST)

A five-alarm fire broke out Monday afternoon in a building in Baltimore's adult-entertainment district, spreading quickly, sending thick smoke throughout downtown and snarling traffic.

Fire spokesman Battalion Chief Kevin Cartwright said the blaze started in one building then spread to four or five others. Two buildings were evacuated, he said, including one that houses fire department offices. The area is known as The Block.

Cartwright said no injuries were reported.

Grayish smoke billowed out of at least one of the buildings, blanketing downtown and firefighters on ladders and cranes poured water on the flames.

The Block is a neighborhood of strip clubs with gaudy lights, including Larry Flynt's Hustler Club. Some of the venues are historic theaters.

Joanna Trela, 38, an office manager for a law firm, works on the 27th floor of a building overlooking the fire scene. She said she looked out the window and spotted the fire after an attorney in her firm suggested that something was wrong with the ventilation system.

"We smelled it," Trela said.

The fire had her temporarily stranded.

"The most frustrating part is, they shut down the parking garage, so nobody in our building can leave, so we're all kind of hanging out," Trela said.

By Alex Dominguez

MORE FROM Alex Dominguez

Related Topics ------------------------------------------