Thankfully no injuries were reported in the three-alarm blaze.
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A large three-alarm fire broke out at the Domino Sugar refinery in Baltimore, Maryland, yesterday afternoon, sending billows of dark smoke over the nearby harbor and, as an odd side effect, reportedly leaving a strong scent of crème brûlée in the air.

Domino Sugar Factory exterior and sign
Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo

American Sugar Refining Inc.—the parent company behind the Domino brand—released a statement saying that the fire was first reported around 3 p.m., and though the cause is under investigation, the flames started in the raw sugar shed where delivered sugar is stored awaiting refinement. "It's crazy," Pierre Aguilar, a Dominio Sugar factory worker, told Baltimore's WJZ News. "In the shed, it's all raw sugar. Whatever comes off the ship goes into that shed."

Thankfully, the refinery was evacuated and no injuries were reported. However, the shed partially collapsed and the fire was able to spread into the refinery as the Baltimore City Fire Department battled the blaze for hours, even bringing in the department's fire boat for additional help. "We had people calling in to say they could see smoke from miles and miles away," Blair Adams, a Baltimore City Fire Department spokesperson, was quoted as saying. "The fire that was started, or originated in and around the silo, managed to make its way to the conveyer belt and traveled just a short distance up the conveyor belt."

Interestingly enough, The Baltimore Sun points out that this is far from first problem the 99-year-old refinery has dealt with: Back in 2007, part of the structure exploded, causing a fiery mess that completely destroyed the Domino's powdered sugar mill and shuttered the refinery for a week. That incident reportedly resulted in minor injuries to three employees and earned Domino a whopping $4,000 fine.

The Sun—which broke the news on the crème brûlée aromas—also reported that the fire department doesn't believe there will be any lasting air quality issues from the blaze. However, how all of this may affect our Domino Sugar supplies is yet to be seen.