Mt. Airy, MD Fire, Mar 1914


Great Conflagration Sweeps Business District Leveling Whole Block Inside of Thirty Minutes


Entire Fire Fought By Frederick Men – Water Is Brought In Tank Cars From Junction – City is Distracted Over the Catastrophe – Only a Black Hollow Remains of Former New Buildings – Little Talk of Rebuilding.

One-third of Mt. Airy is a mass of smoking ruins this morning. Valuable business property and stock valued at over $85,500 was destroyed yesterday by a fire which started in the Farmers’ Grain and Milling Company at a quarter to twelve yesterday morning and within half an hour was eating up an entire block of buildings.

The flames spread with incredible rapidity, and Mt. Airy citizens were forced to stand helplessly and watch the devastation. There was absolutely no available water with which to quench the flames. One man, when the first puff of flame was discovered, grabbed a bucket of water and threw it desperately at the fire. When that was gone, all was gone.

From the Farmers’ Grain and Milling Company, the flames jumped to the lumber and coal yard of E. M. Molesworth, and in a few minutes had leveled that building to the ground. Mr. Molesworth’s business with all its stock and fixtures had just been bought by the Peoples’ Lumber and Supply Company, and stock had been taken only day before yesterday. The loss of this concern, in actual computed figures, amounts to $14,688.

Only One Dwelling Burned.

The only dwelling house that fell prey to the flames was that occupied by W. W. Baker, his wife, and six children, and owned by the Peoples’ Lumber and Supply Company. Nothing was left standing of that but the stone foundation and the chimney. The Baker home was exactly one block away from the Farmers’ Grain and Milling Company. It was a mass of flames within twenty minutes after the first discovery of the fire. The Baker family saved nothing but a few blankets, some small articles of clothing and a couple of clocks. Everything else was destroyed.

Ice Plant Burned.

Runkles’ & Wagner’s ice plant was completely destroyed. Mr. Runkles places the loss at $15,000. About 800 tons of ice were store in the plant. The loss of this establishment is more keenly felt by the people of Mt. Airy than any other.

Watkins & Banks’ grocery and general merchandise store was completely destroyed, and the loss is placed by the proprietors at about $15,000.

R. L. Runkles’ hardware store and the warehouse adjoining it were burned to the ground. The loss is estimated at $10,000.