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Huge Fires Burn Downtown Baltimore Buildings Shortly After Riots

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- An enormous, three-alarm fire broke out in a vacant building in downtown Baltimore Monday evening, just hours after violent riots spread through parts of the city.

WJZ's Christie Ileto reported that the burning structure was purchased by a local church and intended to be an assisted living center for senior citizens at Gay and Chester streets.

Residents said the fire, as well as another blaze that engulfed an abandoned warehouse nearby, seemed to start out of nowhere shortly before 9 p.m.

A fire official told Ileto he was "confident" these fires are related to the riots that caused major damage to portions of West Baltimore along North and Pennsylvania Avenues.

Those riots began as residents gathered to protest the death of Freddie Gray, who was laid to rest earlier Monday.

Embers from the fires reportedly hit nearby homes as well and were said to have started at least two other blazes, according to fire officials.

There's no word as to any injuries from the fires.

Stay with WJZ and for the latest on this developing story.

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