The smoke was so thick in Dundalk it was visible in the city. The fire was intense enough to knock down about 90 percent of an old distillery.
The former Seagram's building off Soller's Point Rd. has been vacant for several years. Now, there is just one wall left standing.
"I saw a huge black puff of smoke with all these flames just shooting out of the building. It was intense," said John Banks.
It drew people outside to watch. CCBC is across the street, along with Dundalk High School. Kelly Schuman witnessed the five-story building crumble.
"I just had a big cloud of smoke that came around me," Banks said.
The fire started around 4:10 Friday. It quickly went to two alarms, and firefighters had to attack it from the outside.
"Shortly after crews got here, we had the collapse of the roof which then the weight of that collapsed the rest of the building," said Battalion Chief James Devers.
Fortunately, it fell and didn't injure anyone or destroy nearby homes. But it was a close call for Carlos Gollahon.
"Within inches of my house, it could have hit my house on a bounce or two. One corner could have hit the corner of my house and destroyed the corner of my house," said Gollahon.
A few hours later, he and his mom were given the okay to go back inside their home. But the power was turned off, so a contractor could tear down the part of the building left standing.
Battalion Chief Devers believes it too could collapse. All things considered, neighbors say it's not a bad ending to what began as a threat to the whole community.
"It's no inconvenience to me to make sure my mom is safe and sound," said Gollahon.
The cause is still under investigation, but Battalion Chief Devers says he is surprised that the fire spread to three floors before the first crews arrived.
The wall still standing may be torn down sometime this weekend. In the meantime, police are keeping people away from the 7100 block of Soller's Point Rd.
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