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WMAR 2 News Baltimore
More than a dozen businesses done in by Cockeysville fire
By Jeff Hager,
A collapsed roof, a wall just waiting to fall and a pile of charred lumber remain from what once was a key piece of Cockeysville’s Antique Row destroyed by the fire.
Charlene Randolph, an instructor, returned to see what was left of New Phoenix Pottery.
“It’s trash,” said Randolph, “We went in there for a minute and the ceiling fell down on my head and another student’s head, and I said, ‘Get out. Everybody out’. So it’s really unsafe to be in there and just a lot of work. People put their heart and soul in things we create here, and you just have to let it go.”
Some report first spotting the flames shooting up from the roof above a consignment shop, and tensions are running high.
“They noticed the fire or something started so they just ran out with their dogs and they called the owner, but they didn’t call 911,” said Eva Hamilton, a business partner at Central Tae Kwon Do, “So somebody else called 911.”
It took firefighters almost four hours to extinguish the flames, and now merchants who have struggled to stay in business in recent years are facing an even greater challenge.
“We’re all just kind of bonding together, picking ourselves up after COVID so this is a big slap,” said Deborah Crawford, the owner of House of Lashes, “16 businesses, not just two like the news was reporting, have been affected. It’s a tragedy.”
While there were no reported injuries from the fire, and it appears many, if not all of the businesses had some sort of insurance, victims say that doesn’t calculate their losses in real terms.
Aside from artwork, photos and other things that may be irreplaceable, time will now work against merchants trying to survive.
“Insurance basically said, ‘Nobody is here after hours. Board it up yourself. Figure out what you can do,’” said Crawford, “and they will not do anything until an investigation is completely and thorough, which can take a long time.”