Devastating Fire Destroyed the Old Wicomico Youth & Civic Center - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Devastating Fire Destroyed the Old Wicomico Youth & Civic Center 40 Years Ago Tuesday

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SALISBURY, Md. – 40 years ago Tuesday the old Wicomico Youth and Civic Center was destroyed by one of the county’s most devastating fires.

On June 27, 1977, a floor buffer sparked a highly flammable sealant being applied and, in an instant, the community’s cherished center shot up in flames, dark smoke billowing that could be seen as far south as Princess Anne and as far north as Laurel, Del.

Bryan Records, Assistant Fire Chief with the Salisbury Fire Department, was 17-years-old at the time. He vividly remembers that day, as he and his friends rode their bikes to the scene.

It was a massive ball of fire”, said Records. “It was still in the early stages. They were calling equipment from everywhere but you knew right from the get go that they weren't going to be able to save the building. It was just so much fire."

The fire, which destroyed all but a small addition called “The Midway”, could have been one of the county’s greatest tragedies. Roughly 100 children were inside at the time of the fire. Miraculously, all made it out and nobody was injured.

Matt Creamer was the county’s director of administration at the time.

“I rushed back home”, Creamer recounts, “and, with so many other people, watched that community gem become a pile of ashes."

But Creamer, like so may others who were there on that day 40 years ago, remembers what the devastation did for the community. He remembers how everyone rallied to pick up the pieces.

In just a short three years, the new arena would open up and the community moved forward.

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