Train derails in Belcamp; 2 killed in Bel Air fire; new islands eyed [50 years ago]

As taken from the pages of The Aegis dated Thursday, Aug. 6, 1964:

Three diesel engines and 30 box cars of a northbound B&O freight train headed for Jersey City derailed in Belcamp. The crash occurred when one of the cars was derailed about three miles south of the crash site and dragged along the side until the rest of the cars came off the tracks. Some of the cars were carrying perishable cargo, which was reloaded onto another train. The derailment caused a one day detour of traffic over Belcamp Road and a round the clock guard by the State and Railroad Police to protect the remaining cargo.


A second story rooming house on Bond Street in Bel Air was the scene of a deadly fire. Two men were killed and eight others were injured as the fire quickly spread through the roof of the wood structure. It took 30 firemen three hours, pouring about 8,500 gallons of water on the building to get the blaze under control. One of those killed had suffered a broken neck when he leaped from the second floor and fell to the ground. The other victim was found in a hallway near the front of the building where he became overcome by smoke and then was fatally burned. Four members of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company were listed among the injured. The fire appeared to have broken out in the middle of the second floor and spread rapidly, blocking off the escape route for the people on the second floor.

The Army Corps of Engineers agreed to stop destructive dumping of dredging spoil from the C&D Canal into the Chesapeake Bay until the Federal government could find a more suitable disposal system. The current operations at Pond's Creek and Veezey Cove would be stopped immediately. Three proposals were being considered for the dredging:

• Use the spoil to build an island in the inland channel off Havre de Grace. This was favored by Harford County as providing shore recreational opportunities, but the Corps feared the cost of transporting spoil from the C&D Canal to this area would be too great;

• Build a cluster of small islands alongside the Bay Channel between Aberdeen Proving Ground, in the vicinity of Spesutie Island, and Poole's Island;

• Build an island off Aberdeen Proving Ground in an area already restricted because of test firing.

Two barns were destroyed by fire this week in 1964. A barn on the Wheel Road property of L.S. MacPhail was struck by lightening. The firefighters on the scene were unable to extinguish the blaze, which burned the entire building and its contents, mostly hay, that were valued at $15,000. Another barn on a farm on Furnace Road off Baldwin Mill Road was destroyed by a fire of an unknown origin. When the a crew from the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company arrived, the barn was completely engulfed in flames and the roof had caved in. The firefighters were able to save the dairy cows and another nearby barn, but a small quantity of hay and lumber were destroyed.

An estimated 3,000 people attended an air show at Fred Mills' Fallston Airport. The highlight of the show came when a stunt flier came out of his dive too late and clipped several rows of a nearby cornfield, before he was able to successfully land his plane. The crowds gave him an ovation for landing his plane only slightly damaged and covered in corn.