Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Thursday, September 13, 2007

20070912 Recovery efforts underway from recent 3 alarm fire in Mount Airy

Recovery efforts underway from recent 3 alarm fire in Mount Airy

September 5, 2007 – September 12th, 2007

by Kevin Dayhoff

09/02/2007 Mount Airy Fire Photos by SD and M Dorrance

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 2, the town of Mount Airy was awakened to a three-alarm fire in the 200 block of South Main Street.

The damage is estimated to be around $4 million for six businesses, and five apartments destroyed in the historic main downtown business district of Mount Airy. The businesses affected by the fire, included Larienzo’s Brick Oven Cafe, A Do or Dye Day Spa & Salon, Déjà vu, Retro Metro, Inspiration Point, and the Olde Towne Restaurant.

An empty lot vacated by a fire which destroyed a grocery store a number of years ago separated the fire from the newly renovated Town Hall, which was unharmed.

Two buildings were destroyed, the Watkins building owned by Bill Chapman and the Bohn building owned by Rob Scranton. The American Red Cross provided assistance for the displaced apartment residents.

Over a hundred firefighters from Carroll, Frederick, Montgomery, and Howard counties fought the blaze. There no reports of injuries.

Fighting the fire was reported to have been difficult and complicated by a relatively narrow Main Street, overhead wires, various other access issues, and challenges with obtaining enough water. None of the buildings or businesses involved had sprinkler systems.

The small town of about 8,200 residents which straddles the Frederick and Carroll County line has been the scene of disastrous fires in the past - on February 24, 1903, March 25, 1914, June 4, 1925, and May 9, 1969. Another fire on February 10, 1935 destroyed the old Mount Airy High School on North Main Street.

Mount Airy Councilwoman Wendi Peters, a 3rd generation elected town official said she was at the fire most of day on Sunday. “The fire brought back sad memories of the mill fire (in 1969.) I was young at the time. My father was a firefighter. I will always remember the charred smell… from the smoke.”

The fire was “shocking and devastating” as she watched the fire with many of the town’s residents. “There were a lot of heavy hearts. I spent a great deal of time talking with the business owners and helping feed the firefighters. We have a really strong community and we will rebuild. But it will take the entire community.”

Scranton is investigating setting up temporary modular buildings in the parking lot at the train station on Main Street; such as those used in the aftermath of the tornado which destroyed vast portions of the southern Maryland town of La Plata a number of years ago.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, Dist.-6, and various state and Carroll County officials are scheduled to visit for the purpose of determining what state, federal or county aid may be available for the community in their efforts to rebuild.

“It is our hope that by next week the businesses will have a base of operations (in the modular buildings),” said Peters. “It was clear at the (emergency town council) meeting (the night after the fire,) from telephone calls and e-mails that the community is coming together behind rebuilding.”

Donations to help those affected by the fire can be left at the Mount Airy Town Hall, 110 S. Main Street, or sent to the Mount Airy Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 53, Mount Airy MD, 21771 or any New Windsor State Bank branch. All donations are tax deductible.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kdayhoff AT

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