Updated: Fire Heavily Damages Robinson's Family of Businesses in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Fire Heavily Damages Robinson's Family of Businesses in Salisbury

Posted: Updated:
Robinson's Family of Businesses (Photo:WBOC) Robinson's Family of Businesses (Photo:WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Authorities say a group of businesses run by a family in south Salisbury sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage following a Sunday afternoon fire.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said that shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday, fire crews were called to Robinson's Family of Businesses located at 1520 S. Salisbury Blvd. 

It took 40 firefighters from all three Salisbury fire stations, as well as Fruitland, Allen, Hebron and Delmar, approximately an hour to get the two-alarm blaze under control. 

According to investigators, the fire caused an estimated $80,000 in damage to the structure and another $250,000 in damage to its contents. There were no reported injuries.

Fire officials said when they arrived on the scene, they did not think the building would be salvageable.

"When you looked at it initially, we felt like we were going to lose the building," said Salisbury Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Records. "The crews did an outstanding job, they were able to get two lines in place right on the fire origin."

The problem posed to firefighters was how to put it out.  Water was not readily available.

"One of the biggest problems we faced getting here were hydrants, this is the very end of the city, we were checking to get a hydrant in the immediate area, there is none," Records said. He said the nearest hydrant was 3,000 feet away.  Instead, firefighters drafted from the nearby Tony Tank Creek, and by coincidence, two water tank trucks were nearby, fully loaded to provide more water to the 80 firefighters on the scene.  The combined 2,500 gallons of water brought the fire under control quickly, and the building is still standing. 

However, there is extensive damage to the inside of the building. Records said when crews arrived, fire in one of the rooms was from the floor to the ceiling.

Owner John Robinson's wife Tracy was inside the building when the fire began.  She told firefighters that she heard a pop and smelled smoke.  Her mission was then to get herself, and her customers' jewelry out safely.

"She called me and before the fire department got here, we got our customers' stuff out and it's all locked up in safes and on its way to our secure vault in our Virginia location as we speak," John said. 

Fortunately, Tracy made it out safely. Her husband said he recently invested in a cloud service to backup his files from the business. He said that that means despite the fact that the computers in the building were destroyed, he will be able to reopen his businesses in days, not weeks or months.

"We'll be back on our feet in just a couple of days," he said. "It's not a good day, it's never a good day.  My wife was there, she wasn't hurt thank God, that's the scariest thing. But everything's fine."

The fire started in a rear screen printing room and remains under investigation, authorities said. 

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