Large fire rips through Charles Co. fairgrounds

A large brush fire tore through the Charles County fairgrounds in Southern Maryland on Tuesday afternoon, killing two dogs and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

Firefighters were dispatched to the grounds in the 8400 block of Fairgrounds Road in La Plata, where carnival workers lease mobile homes during the winter months, at about 3:25 p.m. for reports of fire and found a blaze quickly spreading due to weather conditions, officials said.


As the fire spread, a total of 170 firefighters from Southern Maryland, Virginia and Washington responded.

Several RV-style mobile homes, cattle barns and the fairgrounds' show ring were destroyed, with damages estimated at $500,000, officials said.


Carnival workers renting the mobile homes perform in local shows through the fair's off-season and were displaced by the flames. Two dogs were also killed, officials said.

It took firefighters and employees with the Department of Natural Resources about an hour and a half to bring the fire under control, officials said.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, and members of the Charles County Sheriff's Office were on the scene for hours, officials said.

The Charles County Fairgrounds has a 355-year history and is operated by a local nonprofit.

Anyone with information is asked to call the fire marshal's southern region office at 443-550-6820.