DUNDALK, Md. (WMAR) - For 30 years people have visited a popular landmark on the corner of Merritt Boulevard and North Point Road in Dundalk for seafood. But people are now coming to Ross’ Crab House for another reason, to see the devastation from a Sunday evening fire.
Firefighters were back on the scene at Ross's Crab House Monday morning, dealing with hot spots that flared up in the hours after flames were first spotted at the popular seafood restaurant on the 1100-block of North Point Road. It happened around 7:30 Sunday evening.
Employee Cindy Reidnauer was helping prep for an upcoming catering job when she smelled smoke in the basement and kicked into action. She explains, “I ran upstairs to get the fire extinguisher, then went back down and tried to put it out. I couldn't put it out so I ran upstairs yelling, ‘Everybody get out’."
Six employees and 15 customers scrambled to get out of the burning restaurant, which Reidnauer says was packed for Senior Citizen Day. She says some elderly patrons had to be carried out the front door as the two alarm fire raged on. Owner Kim Ernst was relieved to hear no one was hurt, "That was the biggest thing that everybody got out of the building okay."
Still, the fire is a huge loss for Ernst. She says this restaurant has been in her family for three decades. As a little girl, she breaded oysters in the kitchen and seeing what’s left of it brings a flood of tears and memories. Ernst tells us, "Sadness. I’m upset for my employees because they don't have jobs now, the whole thing. The history. My parents."
But the grief Ernst feels is what she says will compel her to action. She plans to rebuild, not just for her own family, but for the community that's become part of it. Ernst says, "It's a lot more than a restaurant. It's our life."
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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