ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A fire that spread through three buildings in Annapolis' historic downtown — two of them dating to the 1800s — likely caused millions of dollars in damage, the owner of the buildings said Saturday.
Fire officials were still trying to determine what sparked the blaze on Main Street Friday evening, police Capt. Joseph Martin said.
The row-style buildings did not have sprinklers, and it took a crew of about 75 firefighters nearly four hours to get the blaze under control, officials said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was helping investigate because of the size of the fire.
The damage could be "several million dollars," said Harvey Blonder, who owns two of the buildings and has a long-term lease on another.
"I've already talked to the mayor. We are going to work as a team to build these buildings back as quickly as possible and get these businesses open again," Blonder said.
The area, popular for drinking and dining, is one block from the Statehouse and a short walk from the city docks.
The fire spread through an ice cream shop, jewelry shop and candle store. One of the buildings dates to the 1860s, and another to the 1880s. The jewelry store was redone around 1940 and had a new storefront, Martin said.
City administrator Bob Agee said city inspectors believe the candle store and ice cream shop may be sound enough to be repaired. Damage was more severe to the jewelry store in the middle, and its future is more uncertain, he said.
Eight years ago, another fire in the same area during the holiday shopping season destroyed five buildings in the historic district and caused $1 million in damage.