Today In Salisbury’s History: Monday, March 17, 1975

Monday, March 17, 1975

  • Salisbury Fire Chief Frederick Williamson estimated that between 200 and 300 firefighters were on the scene to battle the massive blaze at the Exxon gas tanks on Marine Road in West Salisbury. An explosion Sunday in one of the 40-foot-high fuel tanks sent flames 120 feet in the air, casting an orange glow over the entire city of Salisbury. The 291,000-gallon tank was in the process of being filled from a barge on the Wicomico River. The 1:59 a.m. explosion shook buildings and rattled windows for miles around.
  • Cranes were clearing the wreckage of a huge train derailment that occurred in Fruitland on Sunday. Officials said 11 cars of the 150-car train ran off the Penn Central Railroad tracks behind the Suburban Propane facility. Most of the cars in the three-engine convoy contained fertilizer. W.M. LeCates of Delmar was operator of the northbound train. Fruitland Public Works Director Willard Pusey said that about three weeks ago the city had been contacted about “bad tracks in the area,” but said he didn’t know if that was a factor in the derailment. Train service was shut down all the way to Cape Charles.
  • The Salisbury State Theater was presenting “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf” staring Sue Hess, Kathy Peters, Jeff Rollins and Leland Starnes. Performances were in the Caruthers Auditorium. General admission admittance was $3. Meanwhile, Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson” was playing at the Boulevard Theater.
  • An effort to reactivate the Salisbury Boulevard Association is gaining steam. A meeting scheduled Thursday at the English Grill South will weigh concerns that merchants have now that the Route 13 Bypass is in its final stages. Plans for the Bypass were actually the reason the group was founded in 1961, and the association managed to successfully fight Bypass construction for several years. Merchants are also concerned the Salisbury Mall and Downtown businesses receive too much attention from the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Robert W. Cook of the Greater Salisbury Committee announced that the Norfolk branch of the Army Corps of Engineers would soon be arriving to measure Wicomico River water depths in preparation for a massive dredging project. The last survey made in 1942 is outdated. Cook said equipment improvements, as well as a decision to dredge only channel portions where needed, would reduce the total project costs to about $1 million.


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