Update: Mt. Airy "Rising from the Ashes" Benefit Concert to be held 10/27/07 - Click Here for details!
At about 4am on September 2, 2007 a major fire struck the beautiful historic district of Mount Airy, Maryland. Fire fighters from Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll and Howard Counties responded to the three-alarm fire that destroyed buildings just down the street from the Town Hall. The Town Hall may have been saved by the fact that a vacant lot was between the burning buildings and Town Hall. A contractor told me that his company was to start laying the foundations for a new building on the vacant lot on Tuesday. Now, it looks like that construction will be delayed.
It has been reported that Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services spokesman Robert Farver said the fire started at Laurienzo’s Brick Oven Pizzeria (owned by brothers Bruce and Jay Laurienzo) located at 200 South Main Street in the historic Watkins Building (1924) and then went through the roof of the building and jumped over to the two adjacent buildings (116 and 118 South Main Street) which later collapsed. Rob Scranton the owner of the collapsed buildings has already said he will re-build ASAP. Mr. Scranton also owns the lot that was between the collapsed buildings and Town Hall.
In addition to Laurienzo’s the following businesses were destroyed by the fire: A Do Or Dye Salon and Day Spa, Deja Vu Clothing, Inspiration Point and Retro Metro. Apartments over the businesses were also destroyed. All residents escaped the blaze and got out safe. The Olde Town Restaurant is located in the building next to the Watkins Building (see photo below) and the extent of water or other damage is unclear at this time.
Personal Note: Just last week I purchased a pair of Crocs from Joanne Sapp at Deja Vu and one step inside their store and you could feel their dedication to the business. Joanne's daughter Kirsten helped manage the store. Also, if you click on the link above for Inspiration Point and watch the video you'll see the care and dedication Julie Kennedy and her staff bring to their home decor business.
Now, the question is will the historic Watkins Building need to be taken down or can it be rebuilt. The owner told me he would like to save the building if possible and will have the building examined by structural engineers as soon as possible to determine the best options. From those I interviewed in the crowds there will be no shortage of volunteers in this tightnit community when it comes time to rebuild. Donations can be sent to: Fire Rebuilding Fund, PO Box 53, Mount Airy, Maryland 21771.
If you want to see Mount Airy during happier times see the following articles: [Mount Airy Fall Festival 2006] [Mount Airy May Festival 2007] [Mount Airy with Heather Young] and if I know these folks they will rebuild and happy times will come again soon! Note: Also see the Mount Airy Video Channel below with includes interesting comments by Oscar Baker regarding Mount Airy's history as well as the many photo links.
for photos (slide show) or Click Here
for our photo set.
for ABC 2 News coverage of the fire. Click Here
for News 4.
for more photos of the fire damage on flickr.
for historic photos of Mount Airy!
for information regarding the Mount Airy fires of 1903, 1914 & 1926.
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Donations to help with rebuilding can be sent to:
Fire Rebuilding Fund, PO Box 53, Mount Airy, MD 21771
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