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Dwelling Fire - River Shore Road, Chestertown (QA)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

On Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 3:20 pm, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched as Automatic Mutual Aid to Church Hill VFC for the Structure Fire in the 200 block of River Shore Road, Kingstown, Queen Annes County. As we were already operating at a minor Motor Vehicle Crash with Injuries, dispatched just minutes before, personnel were at the station. We made an immediate response.

 

Our first arriving engine found a 2-story home with fire showing to the left side. Chestertown VFC Lieutenant 6-1 (Jesse Downey, Jr.) established command and quickly performed a 360-degree assessment of the structure. The only fire immediately visible, as previously stated, was found on the left side of the house. The fire was involving natural cover (leaves, mulch, and vegetation), HVAC units, and a portable generator. The fire was also directly threatening a propane tank. This scenario always gives firefighters pause, providing impetus to get water on the fire as quickly as possible. The tank was scorched, but not otherwise involved.

 

The crew of our Engine 68 quickly deployed an 1-3/4” hose line and performed a quick “knock-down” (fire service vernacular for extinguishment) of the fire. Arriving resources form Church Hill VFC and Crumpton VFC were given the assignment of entering the house to “check for extension”, a.k.a. making sure the fire had not entered / involved the structural components of the home. No extension was found.

It’s believed the fire originated with the portable generator. Homeowners and users are reminded to use good judgement when operating power equipment. Follow all manufacturer instructions, guidelines and recommendations. Make sure there are no combustibles in proximity that could take fire and begin burning. If the unit needs to be fueled, allow it to cool before adding gasoline / diesel fuel.

 

We earnestly endorse the propane industry’s recommendations to keep all combustibles and vegetation at least five (5) feet from your propane tank. This helps prevent the tank from becoming involved in the unfortunate incident of fire. As a sidebar, it also helps the delivery driver access the tank, and helps prevent landscaping from being trampled when it’s time to refill the tank.

 

Units operated at this incident for approximately one (1) hour. There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters.

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We draw your attention to four of the attached photos. These are images from the “helmet-cam” camera attached to Lieutenant Downey’s helmet. The edge of the helmet can be seen in the lower left of these photos. These cameras shoot video in real-time, providing a unique perspective. It allows the uninitiated to see, to a certain extent, what firefighters are seeing. Most of the time, there are no cameras available when we arrive at incidents. Helmet cameras help fill this gap. They can, and do, show images that are often rugged and hostile. Unfortunately, these images… as seen here, are often blurry. This is an evil made necessary by the constant jostling the camera must endure. The hazed-out parts are unidentified civilians that were present at the scene.


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