CUMBERLAND — Improperly discarded smoking materials sparked a fire that damaged three buildings Tuesday on North Centre Street, fire investigators said.

Four employees escaped the blaze that started at the Skypacket Networks business at 434 N. Centre.

It was 3:41 p.m. when firefighters were alerted to the fire that reportedly originated on the rear ground-floor area of the two-story structure located a short distance from Valley Street, Lt. W. Shannon Adams, the city fire marshal, said Wednesday.

The property loss to the building and contents was initially estimated at $150,000.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the business and brick building that is owned by the KBT company and also resulted in minor smoke and fire damages to adjacent properties at 432 and 438 North Centre, Adams said.

Fifteen city firefighters responded to the incident along with volunteer firefighters from companies in Allegany, Garrett and Mineral counties.

The fire operation was directed by Cumberland Fire Battalion Chief Daron Winters.

Assistance at the scene was provided by the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, Cumberland Police Department, Allegany County Fire Police, Potomac Edison Company and Columbia Gas.

Communications throughout the incident response was handled by the Allegany County 911 emergency center. 

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