This Month In County History

1938: Fire at lumber company

July 03, 2005

"Westminster fights worst fire since 1883" reported The Sun on Monday, July 4, 1938. A fire broke out at the Smith & Reifsnider Coal and Lumber Co. about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Thousands of feet of lumber were destroyed as the fire engulfed 3 acres of the lumberyard. Flames spread to an adjacent row of houses, where residents were assisted by onlookers in removing some of their valuables. Thirteen volunteer fire companies assisted Westminster's volunteer fire company. Twenty-two firemen were injured in the blaze, which was brought under control at 4 a.m. Sunday. The cause remained unknown, with residents reporting they heard an explosion in the yard's central shed and others saying they saw children playing with fireworks near the lumberyard. The fire was Westminster's worst since April 1883, when a blaze started in a livery stable, killed two men, destroyed a block and a half of buildings on Main Street and spread to a side street before it was extinguished.

- The Sun, July 4, 1938

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