Budeke's Paint is the latest old building to burn in Fells Point

Before Budeke’s Paint caught fire in Fells Point early Friday, the paint shop celebrated 150 years in business under the same roof and five generations of family ownership.

Budeke’s was ravaged when a four-alarm fire struck the 400 block of S. Broadway, the latest in a series of fires that have destroyed buildings throughout Fells Point during the last few decades.

George H. Budeke opened the paint store at 418 S. Broadway in 1868. Handed down through generations, the paint supply store is now run by his great-great-grandson, Bryan Koerber, a fifth-generation owner. Through the years, the paint supply store expanded to take over the footprint of six adjoining buildings, including a former church.

The shop has a second location (it once had five) in Timonium. But Fells Point was its first home.

Budeke’s is the latest building to burn in Fells Point, where a series of large fires have swept through lumber yards, destroyed churches and razed warehouses during the last several decades.

In June 1972, fire destroyed Bond Lumber Co.’s lumber yard at 24 S. Bond St., burning three buildings and an estimated half-million board-feet of wood.

A three-alarm fire in January 1980 swept through a 200-foot-long warehouse on Jackson’s Wharf at the base of Caroline Street. Water around the pier turned a fluorescent shade of green as paint pigments stored in the warehouse spilled into the harbor.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at the corner of Broadway and Bank Street suffered a fire in August 1983, when a painter’s propane torch set the church’s roof on fire. At the time, the church, founded in 1792, was the oldest active parish in the city.

The next year, Henderson’s Wharf and an adjacent warehouse were razed in a 13-alarm fire.

And in 1986, a six-alarm fire destroyed another pier at the foot of Bond Street.

Oil drums exploded in bursts of flames during an April 1988 fire that spread through an industrial complex, where more than 200 firefighters were called to battle a blaze that destroyed a lumber yard and an iron foundry. A week later, seven vacant rowhouses on the 1600 block of E. Pratt St. were damaged by a “suspicious” fire.

A two-alarm fire in 1993 damaged Chase’s Wharf, a warehouse on the 1500 block of Thames St.

In June 2012, a five-alarm fire on the 500 block of S. Broadway caused more than $1 million in damage to a three-story building that previously housed a grocery store. A four-alarm blaze struck the same building five months later.

Between those incidents, another fire damaged a three-story building on Fleet Street near Broadway.

Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this story.

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