OC Boardwalk Hotel Fire Started In Basement Store

Photo by Shawn Soper Photo by Shawn Soper

OCEAN CITY — A fire at the historic Majestic Hotel on the Boardwalk at 7th Street around mid-day on Friday appears to have originated in the ground-level stores beneath the Boardwalk although smoke was seen emanating from windows up to the third and fourth floors.

Around mid-day on Friday, a fire broke out at the historic Majestic Hotel at 7th Street. The Ocean City Fire Department responded as did crews from Berlin and Ocean Pines. It appears the fire originated in the ground floors beneath Boardwalk level and was quickly brought under control.

However, fire crews remained on scene for several hours as ladder crews and tower truck crews removed the shudders from the upper floors and smoke emanated from the windows on the higher floors of the structure. The Boardwalk was closed to pedestrian traffic for at least a block in either direction as large fire trucks and other apparatus along with a lot of manpower battled the fire and began the cleanup process.

In addition, the side streets from about 5th Street to 8th Street were closed and traffic was snarled on Baltimore Ave. for several blocks as fire equipment blocked the roadway.

On an otherwise picture-perfect mid-October day with crystal clear skies and temperatures in the mid-70s, large crowds strolled the Boardwalk and the beach and many stopped to gawk and take pictures of the fire and the effort to contain it.

The hotel was originally built in 1925 and named the Liberty Farms Hotel. It was renamed the Majestic Hotel in 1930. It has been owned and operated by the Savage family, a family whose name is synonymous with early Ocean City history, for generations. According to a report on the history of the hotel, the lumber used in its original construction was cut in West Ocean City and floated across the bay to its beachfront location at 7th Street.

The extent of the damage to the historic hotel is not known although the stores beneath its famous porch appeared to be gutted. Also, extensive smoke damage is likely as smoke emanated from the windows of the structures upper floors as firefighters removed the shutters and opened the windows. However, the historic hotel appears to be structurally sound. The investigation into the cause of the fire and the inspection of the hotel is ongoing.

A release from Ocean City reported, “The hotel is currently closed for the winter and the only known person on the premise was a maintenance worker. One fire cadet was treated on scene for a minor injury sustained during his response; however, no additional injuries were reported. The fire cadet was treated and released.

“The initial investigation determined that the fire started in the basement store of the hotel.  The cause of the fire, which is being handled by the Ocean City Fire Marshall’s Office, is still under investigation.”

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