Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department

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Apr 12, 2021


Legacy Hall

Fire at Strawbridge Home for Boys
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By Firefighter/EMT Bill Flanagan
March 7, 2020

The former and historic Strawbridge Home for Boys building at 5714 Strawbridge Terrace caught fire on Friday night. Fire crews were dispatched at 7:54 pm and the fire was placed under control around 8:20 pm. The Original call was for a possible house fire, but was soon upgraded to a working house Fire after multiple 911 calls were received as well as the distant sightings from the responding fire companies. The fire’s flames were visible for miles around. Fire crews from Gamber saw the flames from their station and the glow could be seen from Winfield. Houses to the east and along Johnsville Road were showered with burning embers from the massive blaze. Fire crews started defensive fire operations due to the collapsing structure. Tens of thousands of gallons of water were used to extinguish the fire. Extinguishment efforts were hampered by the amount of burning material from the roof, attic floor and second floors which had collapsed onto the first floor. The first floor was deemed too unstable to walk on, but still held in some areas. Units from Carroll and Howard counties were still on the scene late into the night to overhaul and extinguish the last remaining embers.

Sykesville was called back out to the structure a couple of times over the next several hours to extinguish hot spots.

Strawbridge Home for Boys, established in 1923 and opened on December 16, 1924, was the last of the three homes operated by
the Baltimore Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Strawbridge Home property was originally the Judge George Washington Manro farm in the late nineteenth century. Both the Judge and Mrs. Manro died in 1891. In the early l 900's the farm was
purchased by George and Ella Albaugh of Westminster. In 1922 the Albaugh's daughter and son-in-law died in an influenza
epidemic, leaving three daughters. In response, the Albaugh's gave their 318-acre farm, with the house and outbuildings, to the
Methodist Episcopal Church as an orphanage for boys. The home was named for Robert Strawbridge, the first Methodist preacher in the United States. The home was open to boys aged four to eight years of any denomination. The 6,432 sq ft building was built was named the Carroll Building in 1926 and was part of the Strawbridge complex. This is not the first fire at the Strawbridge home as the building that housed the younger boys had burnt down in 1974.

The Maryland State Fire Marshall's office are investigating the fire. The Fire Marshalls were on the scene Saturday morning to resume their investigation. Sykesville's Tower 12 was called out to assist with this operation.

Units: E123, E124, RS12, T12, M127, U12, D12
Mutual Aid: E134, E142, HE31, ET133, HT03, RS9

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