Alarm Fire Damages Sheppard Pratt Hospital Building
Towson, MD (August 28, 2003) - Lightning struck the
five-story cupola of a dormitory at the Sheppard Pratt
Health System last night, sparking a four-alarm fire
that required the evacuation of 51 psychiatric patients
and 10 staff members.
One female patient suffered minor injuries during
the evacuation; she was taken to Greater Baltimore
Medical Center for treatment. A volunteer firefighter
also suffered minor injuries while carrying a hose.
County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and Fire Chief
John J. Hohman are scheduled to visit Sheppard Pratt
at 1:30 p.m. today to survey the damage to the "B
Fire investigators said most of the damage involved
the 19th-century cupola at the B Building, which dates
back to the 19th century. Though firefighters were
able to contain the fire to the cupola, the building
below sustained some damage from the heavy volume
of water used to extinguish the flames on the roof.
Firefighters poured tons of water on the fire from
atop two aerial towers parked in front of the burning
The patients were temporarily sheltered in Maryland
Transit Administration buses and then moved to other
hospital buildings on the Sheppard Pratt campus, located
off the 6500 block of N. Charles St.
The fire was reported at 7:58 p.m. as a line of severe
thunderstorms moved across Maryland. Subsequent alarms
were called at 8:06 p.m., 8:41 p.m., and 9:01 p.m.
By 9:28 p.m., firefighters had the fire under control.
About 150 firefighters and emergency medical personnel
worked at the scene to battle the blaze and provide