Freddie Gray Protest: Fire Engulfs Baltimore City

Freddie Gray Protest: Fire Engulfs Baltimore City
Babe Ruth statue Sean Hackbarth/Flickr CC BY 2.0
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Baltimore was engulfed in flames after demonstrators set the Mary Harvin Transformation Center on fire at around 10 p.m. on Monday. Concerns grew for the nearby rowhouses. Elsewhere, there were torching of police cars and other establishments, looting and vandalism.


Freddie Gray protest-turned-riot

The newly constructed Mary Harvin Transformation Center was fully engulfed by fire, WBAL-TV 11 reported. Concerns grew for the rowhouses nearby as firefighters did their best to prevent the flame from spreading. They sprayed nearby buildings and houses with water, as they could only save what was left of the Mary Harvin Transformation Center. The center was build for the elderly.

Deputy Chief Fire Marshall Shawn Belton said they needed 80 firefighters to kill the fire.

Baltimore in a state of emergency

Gov Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard at about 9:45 p.m. as a response to rioters who have injured six policemen and set fires in different locations across the city.

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“I did not make this decision lightly. The National Guard represents a last resort in order to restore order. People have the right to protest and express their frustration, but Baltimore City families deserve peace and safety in their communities, and these acts of violence and destruction of property cannot and will not be tolerated,” Hogan said.

Maryland National Guard Gen Linda Singh said Hogan can activate up to about 5,000 troops to bring Baltimore back to its peaceful status.

“I would highly recommend that we all go in and take cover for the night and actually go to sleep and get some rest and let things settle down so that we can restore order to the city,” Singh said.

“The city has asked us to take over. Currently, state police Superintendent Bill Pallozzi is in charge and will be in direct communication with the city, the mayor, with the city police and Gen. Singh will be providing backup assistance to the state police. We’ll be coordinating with police from other counties around the state and from police that we get from other states around the region,” Hogan added.

Earlier, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a citywide curfew starting Tuesday night. The curfew will begin at 10 p.m. and last until 5 a.m. each night until May 4. She vowed to bring order to the city.

“This is one of our darkest days. We are better than this. I understand anger, but this is not anger. This is destruction. We will bring order. It’s very clear, I’m not interested in exacerbating the situation. We will have peace,” Rawlings-Blake said.

“We will bring order to this chaos. It is extremely heartbreaking. I was born and raised here. We know how hard people work. What does it solve? You can’t care about your community and do what they did,” she lamented.

More updates from the Baltimore Police

As of press time, Baltimore Police is reporting that rioters are continuing to set police cars on fire and destroying properties.

Also read: Baltimore Freddi Gray Protest: Family Does Not Want Violence

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