Broening Highway, a broad and busy corridor line Broening and pour tons of indusmore to the waterways of Maryland, was eerily silent today -- a casualty of the great snow that swallowed up this working man's town.
The vast manufacturing plants and electrical appliance companies that line Broening and pur tons of industrial goods into America each day lay idle, forced to close by the overpowering effects of nearly 19 inches of snow.
"I'll tell ya, that highway was scary," said Bill Winegrad, one of the few hardy souls who reported to General Motors Corp. this morning. "When I came down at 10 minutes to four, all I could see was snow. No lights, no trucks, no jobs, nothing."
The industrial big boys of Baltimore were not the only victims of the curshing snowfall. By this afternoon, gangs of youths were wantonly looting dozens of small businesses throughout the city, taking furniture, televisions, liquor and food.
"We're taking a beating," said Baltimore city police Lt. Leander Nevins. "Right now they're looting Sears right in the center of Baltimore. They've hit the malls. They come right through the doors, right through anywhere they can get in."
By nightfall, police had arrested 40 people for looting and had imposed a 7 p.m. curfew in the city.
Law enforcement officers had difficulty responding to the rash of breakins, as their car proved unequal to the three-foot snowdrifts. By afternoon, the National Guards began providing assistance in the form of two-and-a-half-ton trucks with drivers.
Fire fighters also experlenced difficulty keeping up with an unusually number of fires -- twice as many as normal -- and constant requests for ambulances. Emergency medical cases, chiefly heart attacks and falls, were being called in at four times the usual rate, fire department officials said.
Major downtown department stores that had spent small fortunes advertising for Washington Birthday sales, closed early or -- didn't open at all. But small neighborhood grocery stores did a brisk trade, selling food and pharmaceutical supplies to Baltimoreans preparing to dig in until a thaw.
Indeed, the only element of city life that seemed to be thriving was the human one. The frustrations experienced by Baltimore's industrial and transportation machinary contrasted with the festive mood of city dwellers who celebrated the snowfall like a rite of winter.
Children built snow forts and destroyed them with snowball fights, dogs romped through snowbanks, drivers with no where to go dug out their cars -- and photographers recorded it all for posterity.