Gamber Assists on Strawbridge Mansion Fire in Eldersburg
By Public Information Officer Clay Myers
March 6, 2020

A major fire destroyed the Strawbridge Mansion on Friday evening, March 6. Gamber & Community Fire Co. assisted Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department on the fire with Engine 134 and Engine Tanker 133. Units from Winfield also assisted.

The call was dispatched at 7:55 pm as a possible house fire but it was almost immediately reported as a working fire since flames were visible from a distance.

Units arrived on the scene and requested a working fire dispatch with Rapid Intervention Dispatch (RID). However, crews went into a defensive mode shortly afterwards due to the potential for collapse. The fire was declared under control at approximately 8:45 pm and units remained on the scene mopping up.

Investigators from the Office of the State Fire Marshal were on the scene and BGE was also requested.

Reese & Community Fire Co. filled in Gamber's station with Engine 91.

The "Strawbridge Mansion" was a Methodist-run home in Eldersburg where boys between ages 6 and 18 were sent to live, from 1924 to the late 1950s, either because they were orphans, or their families couldn't care for them. Most came from Baltimore.

Located on 318-acres of what was once known as the George Washington Manro Farm, the Strawbridge Home for Boys was founded in 1924 after George Albaugh donated the farm in 1922 to the Methodist Episcopal Church for use as an orphanage. It closed as a home in the late 1950's. The building went through several owners and was most recently divided into apartments. However, it has been vacant for several years.

Units: Gamber Engine 134, Engine/Tanker 133, Medic 139
Mutual Aid: Sykesville, Winfield, Reese, Howard County Units, OSFM, BGE