House Fire at Historic Strawbridge Home for the Boys
By Fire Lieutenant Zach Schneider
March 3, 2020

On Friday evening at 7:55pm units from Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department and surrounding stations were alerted for a reported house fire in the 5700 Block of Strawbridge Terrace. Calls were pouring into Carroll County 911 Center reporting the house was fully involved with fire. First arriving units found the historic Strawbridge Home for the Boys fully engulfed with fire. Shortly after arriving on scene units operated in a defensive mode for concerns of the building collapsing and worked to protect the adjacent homes while bringing the fire under control. Units remained on the scene for several hours putting out hot spots and mopping up.

Strawbridge Home for Boys, established in 1923 and opened on December 16, 1924, was the last of the three homes operated by the Baltimore Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Strawbridge Home property was originally the Judge George Washington Manro farm in the late nineteenth century. Both the Judge and Mrs. Manro died in 1891. In the early l 900's the farm was purchased by George and Ella Albaugh of Westminster. In 1922 the Albaugh's daughter and son-in-law died in an influenza epidemic, leaving three daughters. In response, the Albaugh's gave their 318-acre farm, with the house and outbuildings, to the Methodist Episcopal Church as an orphanage for boys. The home was named for Robert Strawbridge, the first Methodist preacher in the United States. The home was open to boys aged four to eight years of any denomination. The 6,432 sq ft building was built was named the Carroll Building in 1926 and was part of the Strawbridge complex. This is not the first fire at the Strawbridge home as the building that housed the younger boys had burnt down in 1974. The Building was later converted to apartments however has been vacant for several years.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Units: Engine 142 & Command Support 14