Mt. Airy, MD Fire, Jan 1903


Store of A. Anderson & Co. Completely Destroyed.


United Company’s Engine and Reel’s Taken Down on a Special Train--Loss About $12,000, Covered by insurance.

The large store building of Ernest Anderson, occupied by A. Anderson & Co., at Mt. Airy, was completely destroyed by fire at an early hour this morning, with all its contents. A warehouse connected with the store, and which was filled with merchandise, was also destroyed.

The fire, the origin of which is unknown, was discovered about 12:30 o’clock this morning by a colored man, who was driving by the store and observed smoke issuing from the building. He gave an alarm, and the first persons to reach the building found the doors all tightly closed and the store filled with smoke.

When it was seen that the fire was too serious to be combated successfully by a bucket brigade a telephone message was sent to Frederick asking for aid.
Superintendent Page, of the Frederick County Telephone and Telegraph Company, was aroused and immediately began preparations to take apparatus to Mt. Airy. William T. Mullinix, agent of the B & O Railroad, was asked to provide a special train. No car being found in the local yard an engine was sent to Frederick Junction to get one. The only gondola car which could be secured there was filled with steel rails. Without unloading the rails, the car was run into Frederick.

In the meantime, Mr. Page had aroused Foreman Charles P. Levy and other members of the United Fire Company and arranged to secure the engine and two hose reels of that company. These were loaded upon the gondola car on top of the steel rails, and the car was run down to Mt. Airy at a high rate of speed.

When Mt. Airy was reached, about 3:30 o’clock, the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible to save the Anderson buildings, but by the efforts of the Frederick firemen the adjoining buildings, one belonging to the firm of Baker & Zentz and the other to Edward Molesworth, were saved.

The fire engine was not unloaded from the car. Two railroad engines were run alongside of it on an adjoining track and water was taken from their tanks. George Wiener acted as engineer and Thomas Chew as fireman. W. T. Mullinix, the railroad agent, accompanied the train and did everything in his power to facilitate the work of the firemen.

The burned buildings were valued at $6,500 and were insured for $4,500. The value of the stock of A. Anderson & Co. was estimated at between $9,000 and $10,000 and was insured for $7,000. The second story of the main store building, which was a two-story brick structure, about 60 x 70 feet, was used as a lodge room by the Masonic and Jr. O.U.A.M. orders of Mt. Airy. The paraphernalia of these orders were saved from the flames.

The News, Frederick, MD 29 Jan 1903


Mt. Airy’s Great Fire.

Mr. Dudley Page, of Frederick, who at the time of Mt. Airy’s big fire in 1903, was one of those who made the midnight run with the United Steam fire engine that was sent from Frederick, recently gave an interesting account of that terrible night to a reporter for the Evening Post.

“Three-quarters of an hour after an excited telephone call woke us up with the announcement that ‘Mt. Airy is burning up.’ the United fire engine was loaded on a freight truck and started on its mad trip over the B. & O. to Mt. Airy,” said Mr. Page.