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Flames engulf maintenance building at Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster

The maintenance building at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster caught fire early Friday morning. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

No one was injured when the county government-owned structure was engulfed in flames and no other buildings were affected, according to the notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The 40-by-140-square foot structure had vehicles and offices inside.

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The fire was reported at 3:47 a.m. Firefighters found heavy fire through the roof of the building upon arrival, according to Westminster Fire Department Deputy Chief Josh Evans.

Approximately 45 firefighters with 30 pieces of equipment from Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley, New Windsor, Sykesville, Baltimore County, and surrounding area fire departments were dispatched, according to Westminster Fire Department public information officer Kevin Dayhoff.

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The fire was declared under control by 4:54 a.m., Dayhoff said.

The investigation by the fire marshal’s office continues.

A maintenance building at the Farm Museum in Westminster caught on fire early Friday morning.
A maintenance building at the Farm Museum in Westminster caught on fire early Friday morning.

Carroll County government issued a statement at that the fire happened at the museum’s maintenance shop. The museum is closed to the public until further notice.

“The Farm Museum is one of Carroll County’s crown jewels,” Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said in the statement. “Although the fire is devastating to the property, we are fortunate that no one was hurt and no other buildings were affected. We are also thankful to the local fire departments for their fast response and preventing further damage.”

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Wantz later told The Times, “bottom line, we lost some property but no one was hurt. Stuff can be replaced.”

The maintenance building at the Farm Museum in Westminster caught on fire early Friday morning.
The maintenance building at the Farm Museum in Westminster caught on fire early Friday morning. (Westminster Fire Department)

Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said in a statement the Farm Museum is a major attraction for local visitors and thousands of visitors.

“In calendar year 2019, almost 70,000 visitors enjoyed tours, exhibits and displays and attend over 67 annual events offering family friendly educational opportunities to learn about and experience mid-nineteenth century rural life and fostering the preservation and proper appreciation of the county’s rural culture,” he said, adding that it’s used for field trips, weddings and special events. “Economically, its draw as a tourism attraction adds significant dollars to the local economy as visitors purchase goods and services encompassing many business sectors including hospitality, transportation, retail and entertainment.”

The Farm Museum sits on 140 acres and displays life on the farm in the late 1800s. Tours are given by guides wearing costumes that reflect the time period and there is a collection of antique farm machinery and horse-drawn carriages within the five exhibition buildings, according to the county’s Community Services website.

The museum provides demonstrations of 19th century skills, a gift shop, an 18th century barn, garden and fish pond. It also holds events like Civil War reenactments, old fashion Fourth of July celebrations and the Maryland Wine Festival.

Investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal work at the scene of a fire on the grounds of the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Friday morning.
Investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal work at the scene of a fire on the grounds of the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Friday morning. (Dylan Slagle)

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