A fire that appears to have started in a Frederick auto repair shop early Wednesday morning damaged three businesses and 29 vehicles, according to Frederick County fire officials.
Firefighters were alerted to the fire by a passer-by who noticed heavy smoke and fire coming from the Caliber Collision auto body repair and paint shop at 502 Highland St. at about 4:27 a.m. Wednesday, said Battalion Chief Kevin Fox, a spokesman for the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services. There were no sprinklers or fire detection systems in the shop, and fire was visible when the first crews arrived, Fox said.
“There was a significant amount of fire when we arrived. Our initial arriving crews reported fire through the roof, but the bulk of the fire was knocked at about 4:40 [a.m.], so it looks like they had it knocked in about 15 minutes,” Fox said.
Crews remained on the scene for the next three hours to prevent the fire from re-igniting. The exact cause and origin of the blaze remained under investigation by the Office of the Frederick County Fire Marshal as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Fox.
Firefighters at the scene did determine that the fire was gas-fed and were able to bring the fire under control rather quickly by isolating the gas flow, Fox said.
No damage estimate was immediately available in the aftermath of the fire, but Fox said the amount would likely be “significant” due to the number of businesses and vehicles involved.
“So the fire was mostly contained in the collision shop, but there were actually three different businesses along with the vehicles,” Fox said. “It was in kind of a strip mall-type building.”