A candle started an accidental blaze that tore through several businesses at a Southern Maryland strip mall Monday night, state fire marshals said.
Firefighters dispatched around 10:45 p.m. for a building fire found the strip mall in Solomons ablaze, and it took almost four hours to control the fire, officials said in a news release. Fire departments from Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles and Prince George's counties responded.
Investigators determined that some combustibles were ignited by a candle used by a homeless man taking refuge in a nearby camper trailer and flames spread to the building. The man fled the area, but was later taken to an area hospital for an unrelated medical emergency.
The business affected are Solomons Veterinary Medical Center, Patuxent Adventure Center, Vintage Treasures and Used Furniture, Tiki Tanning and Boutique, and HLW Electric. Firefighters rescued two pets, and no injuries were reported, officials said. The fire caused $3 million in damage.
Excavators were taken to the scene to help remove heavy debris as investigators worked to determine the origin and cause of the fire.