Sykesville High School Swept by Fire

Thursday, April 18, 1957

Main Building of Junior – Senior High Wrecked Early Today

Fire early Thursday morning wrecked the old main building of Sykesville High School.

Starting apparently in the chemistry department in the north wing, the flames swept rapidly through the brick structure build in 1930.

Firemen from a dozen companies fought the blaze for five hours. Though handicapped in the early stages by difficulty in obtaining water, they prevented the spread of the flames to two more recently constructed units of the local school, the cafeteria-auditorium and the elementary department.

A six-room wing in the south end of the old building was left intact although badly damaged by smoke and water.

The fire was discovered at 2:20 A.M. by a passing motorist, Dick Estes, who immediately drove to the local firehouse and gave the alarm.

Firemen and apparatus from Mt. Airy, West Friendship, Lisbon, Westminster, Liberty Road, Catonsville, and Woodlawn quickly responded to the Sykesville Company’s appeal for help.

First firemen on the scene reported the flames were in the north end of the building – in the chemistry room, boiler room and office.

Hose lines were laid to the nearest fire plug, in the Springfield Hospital grounds, a good quarter mile away.

In the precious moments required for this operation, the flames roared out of control.

Ironically, a town water line, which would have placed a fire plug within a few feeet of the school, was defeated two years ago by a single vote.

No accurate estimate of damage was immediately available. Observers agreed, however, it would cost upwards of a quarter millions dollars to replace the wrecked building.

More than a dozen classrooms, the chemistry room and laboratory, the library, commercial department and instruments n the music room were removed to safety.

Many school records and class room supplies were lost in the building. Some duplicate records were kept in the County office.

The school was closed Wednesday afternoon for the Easter holidays. It was to reopen Tuesday, April 23.

Standing in front of the wrecked school early this morning as dawn was beginning to break and firemen were still pumping water into the burning building, Principal E. F. Bowers told the Sykesville Herald newsman he did not know how or when the school would resume operations. This, he indicated, was a problem to be worked out in consultation with county education authorities.

At the height of the blaze walls of the central portion of the building collapsed.

No serious injuries were reported among the some 100 firemen fighting the stubborn flames.

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Sykesville Company set up a canteen to serve firemen coffee and sandwiches. The Baltimore County fire department dispatched a coffee wagon to the scene.

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