Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Fire at Historic MD Mansion

Baltimore City Fire Department

Christine Condon

Baltimore Sun

(MCT)

Baltimore firefighters quickly extinguished a blaze at the long-vacant Sellers Mansion in Harlem Park on Wednesday morning.

At 9:47 a.m., the department got a call about the fire at 801 North Arlington Avenue, said spokeswoman Blair Adams. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter, and could see flames emanating from the roof. By 10:06 a.m., the fire was placed under control, Adams said. During the effort, one firefighter sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

The West Baltimore home, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places, did not have interior structure, so firefighters mainly battled the blaze from outside, Adams said. The department is still investigating the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage.

The house, built in 1868, is a detached three-story mansion overlooking Lafayette Square Park. Originally occupied by Matthew Bacon Sellers, the wealthy president of the Northern Central Railway, the home was abandoned decades ago.

For a time, the property was owned by the St. James Episcopal Church down the block. There was a plan, eventually scrapped, to redevelop the decrepit mansion into apartments for seniors. As of 2015, the mansion was in the hands of nonprofit One House at a Time Inc. Then, developer Ernst Valery bought it out of receivership for $10,000, announcing his plans to make good on the senior living concept. Valery was also involved in the renovation of the 10-story St. James Terrace apartments next door.

In a 2019 Sun article, Valery said the mansion’s transformation could be complete by the end of 2020, but it’s unclear just how far it progressed.

He could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

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