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5 Alarms Takes Out Historic Town Landmark in Maryland

Downtown Landmark

ONE OF WILLIAMSPORT, MARYLAND'S OLDEST BUILDINGS was destroyed Monday in a 5-alarm fire that brought 20 engines and 5 ladders from Maryland and West Virginia departments.

WJLA / Pannill

The fire was reported shortly after 7 am when it began in an outbuilding that housed the oil-fired furnace.  The local newspaper, The Herald-Mail reports:

A mechanical failure in an oil-burning furnace started the fire Monday that caused an estimated $500,000 in damages to the former Wolfe’s on the Square building in downtown Williamsport, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office said.

The fire was reported at 7:18 a.m. Monday in an outbuilding that housed the furnace and the fire quickly spread through the three-story structure, according to a fire marshal’s office news release. One occupied apartment and the L&J discount liquor store were on the first floor of the building. Four vacant apartments were on the second and third floors. Kevin Lewis, director of Washington County Emergency Services, said the fire was under control shortly before noon.

Steve Roth / 911 Photography

In a separate aricle, The Herald-Mail also relates:

The building dates to before the Civil War, Councilwoman and local historian Joan Knode said. Over the centuries it had been the Wabash Hotel and the Taylor Hotel, she said, and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stopped there during the Civil War and tethered his horse, Traveler.

George Hooper Wolfe came to the business after having worked on the C&O Canal and put those experiences into a book, "I Drove Mules on the C&O Canal," Knode said. A hardware store, lunch counter and fishing and hunting shop have been in the building over the years, she said.

Jack Byers, who owned Byers’ Busy Corner across the street until about six months ago, said the history of the building, in one form or another, might date to the late 18th century.

The preliminary damage estimate is $500,000.

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WJLA-TV posted this video report from the scene:

 

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Steve Roth of 911 Photography has more details and a 150-image photo gallery HERE.

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