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March Storm of 1962 - Memories of Albert Berger
by Albert Berger
Albert, his wife Bea, and children Barry and Harvey lived on 5th Street between St. Louis Avenue and Philadelphia Avenue. In 1962 Albert and Bea, along with Albert’s father and mother, and brother Herbert ran the Syl-Mar Shop which was on the corner of Talbot Street and Baltimore Avenue.

On the early morning (about 2 or 3am) of March 6th (or 7th – date is not certain) 1962, I got a fire call while stationed at the Dorchester Street Firehouse. At the time that was the only Firehouse in Ocean City. When the call came into the Firehouse there was about 12”to 15” of water in the building. Due to the water, we were planning to take the trucks out of the building for safety reasons (have the trucks not become unusable due to water damage) when the call came in for a fire at 70th Street. I was riding on the back of the truck in full gear holding on in very hard rain and wind. As we approached 70th Street, I could see smoke, the truck was slowing down, and if I had not been holding on tight to the bar I would have been blown off the truck as I was picked up by a gust of wind that literally lifted me off my feet. We were unable to get to the home on fire because the water was too deep. It was only later that I learned about the car that was submerged in a siteorary inlet between where the truck stopped and the fire, as the water was so deep and conditions so bad that we did not see the car. The chronology is not clear but the other facts remembered are “from the Firehouse, we (Dave Lankford and me) took a boat going under the bridge on St. Louis Avenue up to 8th Street to Britt’s Market where Dave was the manager. We salvaged as much food as possible, as much was floating around in water, and took food to the Firehouse for people to eat (returning the same way we came by boat down St. Louis Avenue). We helped on any necessary transportation when people needed assistance due to vehicles being under water. Fire trucks were put to higher ground by stationing them on the Route 50 Bridge.

My brother (Herbert Berger) and brother-in-law (George Shuster) owned a lot on the corner of 28/29th Street at the time of the storm. Prior to the storm they did not develop the lot yet as there was a need for a very large quantity of sand to be dumped on the property and the cost for doing the fill was very large. After the storm, there was so much new sand on the property that they would have to pay to have sand removed from the property, so after the storm they sold the property.

At our store, the Syl-Mar Shop on Talbot Street and Baltimore Avenue, we had been receiving merchandise into the store for the start of the upcoming summer. Now the store was very slightly elevated and did not have major water in the store but every time a vehicle was going down Baltimore Avenue during the storm it created a wake up that pushed water into the store. Many boxes were on the floor and there was merchandise that was ruined and had to be discarded.

I am uncertain of all who were at the Firehouse during the storm, but I believe Jack Jarvis, Angelo Villani, Al Harmon, Art Davis and Deane Davis were among those present during the initial time remembered above.

I stayed in Ocean City while my wife and children evacuated to Berlin. Eventually a relative picked Bea and the children up and took them to Baltimore. They returned to Ocean City after being out of town for two weeks.

And here I am 50 years later.

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