A major fire that was sparked by lightning Wednesday night gutted one-third of the vintage-1890 Goodwill Industries building in Frederick, Md., and caused almost $1 million in damage, officials said yesterday.
More than 200 firefighters in 20 trucks battled the blaze for four hours before bringing it under control at midnight, Sgt. Terry Shankle said.Nine firemen were taken to the hospital, treated for smoke inhalation and released, he said.
Fire marshal Tim May said the fire - which burned from the rear of the seven-acre complex and destroyed clothes, furniture, appliances and other contents - started during the severe thunderstorm Wednesday after lightning struck an old smoke tower and ricocheted into the roof.
"It was probably the biggest fire Frederick has ever had," said Sgt. Shankle. Twenty-three different units responded from Washington, Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties to douse the seven-alarm blaze, he said.
Goodwill Industries had occupied the building at 400 East Church St., one of two Goodwill outlets in Frederick, for nine years. It was built in 1886 to house what was the city's one major industry, the Ox Fibre Brush factory, which produced two million cleaning brushes a month by the 1940s.
May said the approximately 40 Goodwill employees working at the building will be able to continue using the undamaged portion. The remaining one-third will have to be torn down entirely and reconstructed, he said.