Howard History

December 18, 2005

1945: Two major December fires

Howard County had been free of major fires for nearly four years until the evening of Dec. 6, 1945, when, shortly after sunset, a blaze broke out at the Howard County Farmers Cooperative at Frederick Road and St. Johns Lane.

The fire tore through two barns and a pair of smaller buildings, according to B.H. Shipley Jr.'s pictorial history of Ellicott City firefighters. But the Ellicott City Fire Company's quick response was frustrated by the fact that "the usual source of water in that area, MacCubbin's Ice Pond ... had been drained several days earlier. ... [T]here was little the firefighters could do, despite the heavy downpour that soaked the men as four buildings burned to the ground."

Eight days later, an overheated oil stove set off another major fire, this one in downtown Ellicott City, burning the Pentecostal Church on Main Street to the ground. It would prove to be the last major fire in the county for eight years.

[Source: Remembrances of Passing Days, B.H. Shipley Jr., as told to William K. Klingaman, Ph.D]

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