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The Aegis
Harford County

Fire destroys building at former Bainbridge naval site in Cecil County

Firefighters from the Water Witch and Susquehanna Hose companies responded to a blaze at a building at the former Bainbridge Navel Training Center on Thursday.

Officials are investigating the cause of a fire at destroyed an abandoned building at the former Bainbridge Navel Training Center in Port Deposit.

A passerby reported the fire at the two-story former dining hall shortly after 11:30 a.m. May 6, according to a notice of investigation from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

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It took more than 50 firefighters from the Water Witch Volunteer Fire Company in Port Deposit, the Susquehanna Hose Company in Havre de Grace, and others approximately two hours to get the blaze under control. Units remained on scene until about 5 p.m.

No injuries were reported by the fire marshal’s office, but the Water Witch company said on its Facebook page that one firefighter was transported to a local hospital.

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In September 2014, a fire destroyed a building on the Bainbridge Naval Training Center campus that was once Memorial Hall of the Tome School for Boys.

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The Navy appropriated the Tome School campus in 1942 for use as a training base during World War II, according to Baltimore Sun archives. The base operated until 1976 and the Navy retained control of the property until 1986. The U.S. Department of Labor used part of the property for a job training center until 1990.

Following a lengthy clean-up process for the 1,200 acres that included demolition of many of the World War II era structures, the Bainbridge Development Corporation, a quasi-public organization authorized by the Maryland General Assembly in 1999, took over ownership for the purpose of redeveloping the property.

In February, the Port Deposit town council unanimously approved three ordinances paving the way for future development at the Bainbridge site, according to the Cecil Whig.

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The Bainbridge Development Corporation issued a press release about the fire, stating "It is regrettable that this building has been severely damaged. ... This is an unfortunate loss to the Town of Port Deposit and Cecil County. The BDC remains dedicated to preserving, maintaining, protecting and restoring to the degree possible the Historic Tome School. The Tome School Campus remains closed to the public and any trespassers caught on the property will be turned over to the authorities."

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Northeast Office of fire marshal at 410-836-4844, the Maryland Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-756-2587.


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