Officials Continue Downtown Fire Probe

Officials Continue Downtown Fire Probe
The fire originated in an uninhabited apartment west of the Harbor Inn on Somerset Street. Photo by Campos Media

OCEAN CITY — An historic downtown tavern survived a fire last weekend that began at an adjacent apartment building.

Just after 10 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City Communications alerted the Ocean City Fire Department to a building fire in the 300 block of St. Louis Avenue. Arriving firefighters found a two-story apartment building and an adjacent bar known as the Harbor Inn actively involved in fire. The Harbor Inn claims it holds the oldest liquor license in Ocean City. It opened in the 1920s and became a bar in 1935 after prohibition ended, although the story goes alcohol was flowing in the tavern even during prohibition, according to a source.

Due to the exposure and active fire conditions, the incident commander requested a second alarm, bringing in mutual aid from neighboring fire departments. The Ocean City Fire Marshal has determined the origin of the fire was within the unoccupied residence to the west of the Harbor Inn, which sustained fire and water damage when the fire vented through the living area window of the residence.

Bar damage was limited mostly to the exterior and attic areas as the fire involved the bar’s soffit. Ocean City paramedics were on the scene However, no injuries were reported. The fire remains under investigation by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office.

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About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.