Harford history

First Major Fire for Aberdeen

August 12, 2007

The first major fire attended by the Aberdeen Fire Department occurred at 2 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 1907, in the hardware store of Nelson Worthington and Bros., according to the Aberdeen Centennial Almanac.

Thieves apparently broke into the store, and it was thought that the fire might have started when they dropped burning matches while trying to open the safe.

Soon both the hardware store and the Aberdeen Hotel were ablaze. All of Aberdeen's firemen and every man and boy in the town manned bucket brigades. The hotel guests stood in the streets in their nightclothes, and local residents provided shelter and clothing.

At the height of the blaze, a large can of gunpowder exploded with a tremendous roar. At that moment, several other buildings began to burn. Bucket brigades saved the livery stable, but the hardware store and hotel were destroyed.

Hotel manager Joseph A. Krouse and his family barely escaped with their lives. The Aberdeen Fire Department was first organized in 1889.

Source: Aberdeen Centennial Almanac 1892-1992 Research: Harford County Public Library

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