Fire at Charles County Fairgrounds destroys barns, show ring

A wind-swept fire at the Charles County Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon destroyed several mobile homes, cattle barns and a show ring, and caused an estimated $500,000 in damages, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office.

Investigators had not determined a cause as of Wednesday morning, though a resident told the SoMdNews (Southern Maryland Newspapers Online) that he heard several explosions from buildings on the site, in Bel Alton south of La Plata.

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The fire in the 8400 block of Fairgrounds Road was reported about 3:25 p.m. and officials said it spread quickly in gusty winds. It took firefighters from Virginia, Maryland and the District about 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation. The Fire Marshal’s office said the fairgrounds is run by a non-profit and is leased to carnival workers.

Authorities said several businesses were displaced and two dogs died in the fire. No other injuries were reported.

The D.C. fire department sent two engines, a truck and the deputy chief of operations to help fight the fire 36 miles away.

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