On Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 2:30 am, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, along with Mutual Aid Companies, was dispatched for the residential dwelling fire in the 10,800 block of Foreston Road. This is located in Chesapeake Landing in the western part of our primary response district, near Maryland 298. A 2nd Alarm was requested for manpower.
Units arrived to find a single-story, rancher type home with heavy fire coming from the rear. There was a working smoke alarm in the home. It operated properly and alerted the occupants, allowing them to safely exit the home. All occupants of the dwelling were out and accounted for upon our arrival.
As our first engine arrived, it was closely followed by the first mutual aid engine from Kennedyville Volunteer Fire Company. Our crew deployed a 2-1/2″ hose line from our engine and proceeded to hit the fire with a “blitz-attack”. A blitz attack is a technique used when we’re confronted with a large volume of fire. The object is to hit the fire hard and fast, darkening as much fire as possible in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of water. This especially important in rural fires where water is in short supply and we have to rely on tankers.
Nearly simultaneously with the blitz attack, the crew from Kennedyville’s engine deployed an 1-3/4″ hose line and entered the front door of the home. When the fire was darkened by the blitz attack, our crew set aside the 2-1/2″ hose and deployed a second 1-3/4″ hose line to support the crew from Kennedyville. The smaller 1-3/4″ hose is much easier to maneuver within the confines of a structure.
As additional mutual aid units arrived, they were assigned job tasks essential to handling a fire of this type. Crews from Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company and Church Hill Volunteer Fire Company relieved the initial fire attack crews from Chestertown and Kennedyville. Those personnel were then sent to “Rehab”, short for rehabilitation. They are given the opportunity to cool off and rehydrate. They are evaluated by Emergency Medical Services for any potential medical issues. Having none, they are then released after a suitable length of time to return to firefighting duties.
Additional tasks performed by mutual aid companies included placing ladders on the structure and setting up portable floodlights. On night time incidents like this, lighting is critical. It helps us work more efficiently and more importantly, it helps to prevent fall / tripping accidents and injuries.
Delmarva Power was notified and they responded to cut electrical service to the home. The Maryland State Fire Marshals Office was notified but did not respond. The cause of the fire was determined as Unattended Cooking. If the cause of the fire is confirmed and is not suspicious, the fire marshal does not have to respond. Red Cross was notified and came to the scene to assist the family.
One firefighter suffered minor heat exhaustion and was transported to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown for treatment. He was treated and released. There were no civilian injuries.
Crews operated on this incident for just over three (3) hours. While we were committed to this incident, our fire station was covered / filled in by an engine from the Hartly Volunteer Fire Company of Delaware.
Fire and Emergency Services represented:
Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company
Kennedyville Volunteer Fire Company
Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company
Betterton Volunteer Fire Company
Church Hill Volunteer Fire Company
Crumpton Volunteer Fire Company
Community Volunteer Fire Company of Millington
Galena Volunteer Fire Company
Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company
Kent & Queen Annes Rescue Squad
Kent County EMS