Dozens of firefighters descended upon the Hood College campus in the early hours of Thursday morning when the school’s oldest building caught fire.

At approximately 1:49 a.m., Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services was dispatched to Brodbeck Music Hall in the 500 block of Brodbeck Drive in Frederick, according to a fire department news release. The call was elevated to a second-alarm fire and personnel requested rapid intervention crews.

Though Brodbeck Hall was unoccupied at the time of the fire, firefighters and Hood College staff evacuated nearby Smith Hall as a precaution and sent students temporarily to Whitaker Commons, according to DFRS and Hood College.

Hood College, in a Facebook post, said firefighters saw flames coming from the top of Brodbeck Hall’s cupola.

Roughly 75 firefighters made an “aggressive interior attack” to knock the blaze in about an hour, the DFRS release reads. Personnel stayed on scene another hour to tackle hotspots, perform overhaul and place coverings over the building’s organ, piano and other instruments to prevent water damage.

There were no injuries to fire department personnel or civilians. As of about 10:30 a.m., the Frederick County Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene investigating the cause.

Built in 1868, Brodbeck Hall was once a German pub before the college moved from Winchester Hall in 1914, according to Laurie Ward, vice president of marketing and communications for the college. It has served as a space for classes, music lessons and performances.

In its social media post Thursday morning, Hood College said the fire appeared to be primarily contained to the third floor, though Ward said staff were unsure since they could only access the first floor due to safety reasons. Ward said the building’s organ may have been damaged by water or smoke.

“We are saddened by this event, but we must remember that the safety of our community is what is most important,” the college’s Facebook statement read. “We are so grateful to the quick response of campus safety, the RA’s who took care of our Smith residents, and of course, the [DFRS] for their service.”


Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Brodbeck Hall.


(1) comment


Beautiful building! I have heard many lovely concerts there. I hope all can be restored and the instruments suffered no damage.

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