Princess Anne, MD Explosion And Fire, Sep 1950
FIRE DAMAGES PRINCESS ANNE.
EXPLOSION ROCKS TOWN AND BLAZE SWEEPS THREE BUSINESSES.
Princess Anne, Sept. 28 (AP) -- An explosion rocked this Eastern Shore town early today, setting fire to three business places and showering an entire main street block with broken glass.
Unofficial estimates put the damage at between $100,000 and $200,000.
A chain food store, a five and ten and a restaurant were complete wrecks. At least 20 stores and offices on both sides of the street had broken windows.
No one was hurt, Fire Chief RAYMOND CAREY reported. He said the cause or exact location of the blast could not be determined immediately.
The explosion, heard more than a mile away, aroused many residents. Some of them said they at first thought their own oil burners had exploded. Others reported the blast sounded like dynamite.
The blast hurled a 10 by 3-foot sign across the street and shot bricks from the side of the Arden Inn across a narrow alley, smashing windows in the Bank of Somerset.
Firemen from Princess Anne, Fruitland and Salisbury brought the flames under control after they swept through the American grocery store, the Arden Inn and Griffith's five and ten cent store.
Princess Anne, Somerset countyseat, has a population of about 1,000.
Night policeman FRED PHOEBUS, who was attending to a night light in the rear of a building across the street, said "all at once it sounded like the whole world had blown up."
If he had been in the building, he related, "I wouldn't be here to tell you about it."
C. M. BAUGHN, Princess Anne school principal and volunteer fireman, speculated, "if this had happened in the daytime, I wonder how many people would have been killed."
MRS. C. D. GRIFFITH, who owns the three wrecked buildings and operates the five and ten, had to be taken to her apartment when she was nearly overcome by shock.
Fire Chief CAREY said he had telephoned the Chincoteague, Va., naval air station to get some explosion and fire-fighting experts to examine the wreckage and see if they could determine the cause of the explosion.
Frederick Post Maryland 1950-09-29