The Great Fire, Maryland Agriculture College, 1912

The Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1912

The Baltimore Sun, November 30, 1912
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Buildings Of Maryland Institution At College Park Burned Last Night.


Building Erected in 1904, Costing $75,000, Destroyed.


Blaze Interrupts Supper Following Dance — Hyattsville And Washington Firemen, Battling with Blaze, Apparently Have Saved Other Buildings.

[Special dispatch to The Baltimore Sun.]

College Park, Md., Nov. 30. — Fire which broke out in the upper story of the new administration building of the Maryland Agricultural College last night about 10:30 o'clock totally destroyed the new building and the original college edifice, known as the "barracks," erected in 1854.

The estimated total loss is $150,000, practically covered by insurance.

Fire Breaks Up Dance.

A dance was in progress, the guests being at supper in the mess hall of the old building. A rush was made for the doors, but a panic was averted by assurance from officials of the college that there was no danger.

The cadets helped the young ladies don their cloaks and the entire dancing party left the building as quickly as possible.

Some of the young ladies, not to be outdone by the heroism of the cadets, although they were attired in evening gowns, turned in and helped the cadets to empty the barracks of clothing and other effects.

The origin of the fire is unknown, but the blaze is presumed to have resulted from the crossing of electric wires.

Students Losers By Fire.

Owing to the holiday season many of the 250 students at the college were on vacation and these cadets lost all their clothing, books and other effects in the quarters.

Most of the valuable records in the offices of President R.W. Silvester and Treasurer Ford, in the new administration building, were saved, as well as many articles of furniture.

As soon as the fire was discovered officials and students played a stream on the fire with a small hose, but the heat and dense smoke soon drove them out of the building.

Administration Building Collapses.

The flames were not long in eating their way down through the administration building. This structure was connected with the barracks by two bridges, and the blaze quickly spread to the older building. At midnight the administration building had collapsed, and two hours later the barracks was nothing but a smoldering ruin.

Science Hall Saved.

When the fire department from Hyattsville arrived the new building was doomed, but with a new supply of water the old barracks could have been saved. The lack of water drove the firemen to the saving of adjoining buildings, and a desperate and successful fight was made to save Science Hall, located about 50 feet from the administration building.

Aid Comes From Washington.

Chief Wagner, of the District of Columbia Fire Department, was appealed to for aid, and sent two companies out from Washington. The apparatus was brought on a Baltimore and Ohio truck. The Washington firemen remained until all danger of the fire spreading had passed.

The new administration building was erected in 1904 under a special act of the Legislature and cost about $75,000, including equipment.

Under Control At 2 A.M.

At 2 o'clock this morning the Hyattsville and Washington firemen were still at work, and it was evident that the ruins would continue to blaze for some hours, but the remaining buildings of the college were apparently saved.

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