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Jun 23, 2023

By CBS Baltimore Staff

Updated on: July 20, 2023 / 5:17 AM / CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- A 19-year-old man was arrested after a firefighter was injured in what officials are calling an arson at an Advance Auto Parts store Tuesday evening in Reisterstown.

Mayday, a distress signal, was called at 9:44 p.m. at the Advance Auto Parts store in a shopping plaza in the 11900 block of Reisterstown Road, where a three-alarm fire raged.

Police said Elijah Morgan has been charged with first-degree arson. He was located at the scene of the fire.

Police said Morgan was taken to an area hospital for a mental evaluation.

Firefighters said the flames were difficult to extinguish because of the materials inside the building.

According to the Baltimore County Fire Department, a lieutenant was injured after part of the ceiling fell on them while battling the fire.

A rescue team was sent inside to rescue him.

"He was disoriented, but he was OK," a Baltimore County Fire spokesperson said.

Officials said the firefighter was removed from the fire and treated with non-life-threatening injuries. He has since been released from the hospital.

The latest from #baltimore county fire: 3 alarm fire at Advanced Auto Parts. A mayday was called at 9:44PM. One firefighter has been removed and is being evaluated with non-life threatening injuries. Firefighters working exterior operations only @wjz pic.twitter.com/AecrhoVu3D

Units stayed on the scene through early Wednesday morning putting out hot spots, but the building was deemed a total loss, fire officials said, and that the store will be torn down.

"An auto parts store has a very heavy fire load," fire officials said. "There's flammable materials. There's petroleum-based products, there's rubber, there's fuel. They're all kinds of materials that can burn."

Drone video from a WJZ viewer showed the aftermath of the fire.

"I just couldn't believe it because nothing like this really happens," said Reisterstown resident Myles Taylor.

UPDATE: Firefighters have stopped spraying water and it appears hot spots may now be out. pic.twitter.com/Jmbi4HopMn

Baltimore County Police said officers responded around 9:30 p.m. -- minutes before the fire was reported -- to an armed robbery at a nearby Royal Farms. The suspect, who allegedly had a handgun, took money before taking off on foot, police said.

Police have not said if the two incidents might be connected.

Reisterstown residents said the shopping center was recently remodeled.

"it's a shame to see them tear this down," Charles Sless said. "That's all you know. They'll have to rebuild something from scratch."

The CBS Baltimore Staff is a group of experienced journalists who bring you the content on CBSBaltimore.com.

First published on July 18, 2023 / 10:23 PM

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