On Friday, January 29, 2021 at 10:26 am, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched mutual aid as part of a multi-company assignment, for the Large Structure Fire – Barn, at 12296 Still Pond Road, Brown’s Lawn & Tree Service. This neighborhood is locally known as Malone’s Corner. The incident would eventually escalate to Two (2) Alarms. A Tanker Task Force was required to meet the need for water. A Tanker Task Force includes four tankers and an engine. These resources are an addition to similar equipment already assigned to the incident.
First arriving found a 75x40 large pole barn with fire through the roof on Side Alpha, which is considered the front of the structure. The structure contained several pieces of equipment and implements endemic to commercial interests of the lawn, tree, and landscaping business. Complicating the fire attack was the powerful winds impacting the region at the time. As firefighting operations got underway, both Lambs Meadow Road (Maryland 298) & Still Pond Road (Maryland 292) was completely closed. To allow sufficient room for tanker shuttle operations, the entire road was required. A 4000-gallon “Drop Tank” was deployed in the middle of the intersection. Fire Police from several Kent County fire companies responded to assist with the closures and detours.
(Local motorists are reminded to respect closures and not drive around barricades set-up to stop traffic. This, unfortunately, happened at this incident. It exposes emergency personnel to danger, as vehicle(s) are coming through a section of roadway which, to the knowledge of all emergency personnel, should be completely closed.)
The winds caused the fire to quickly take 100% possession of the structure. Crews initially tried to enter the structure to gain a good “knock-down” of the fire and salvage property. However, the fire had significantly weakened the structural components of the building. A powerful gust of wind separated and lifted part of the roof and structure a good 2 – 3 feet. Upon dropping down, this resulted in a partial collapse, triggering instructions from command to evacuate the building and go into exterior defensive operations. Crews were in no real jeopardy as they were still near the structure entrance.
The incident was declared Under Control at 11:07 am.
Our Tower 6 (a 100’ Sutphen Tower Ladder / Elevating Platform) arrived and entered the compound from the Still Pond Road side. They dropped 500’ of 5” supply hose as they came in. The Tower set-up and brought their two Master Stream devices, mounted to the platform, into service. At this point, with the roof completely collapsed, it was just a matter of knocking down residual fire and mopping up hot spots.
As a result of our firefighting resources in Chestertown being depleted, the following companies sent equipment to “Fill In” our station, maintaining fire and life safety protection for our community: Church Hill VFC, The Community Volunteer Fire Company of Millington, Maryland, and the Sudlersville VFC. Our thanks to these companies and their personnel for covering the Chestertown community in our absence.
The following additional resources were requested. Delmarva Power was called on to cut electrical power to the structure. Maryland Department of Transportation / State Highway Administration was requested for a salt truck. Water Supply Operations was dropping water on the road. It was anticipated it would eventually freeze and create a hazardous situation if left untreated. The Maryland State Fire Marshals Office responded to the scene and is conducting an Origin & Cause Investigation. Those results are not available at the time of this release.
There were no injuries to emergency personnel or civilians.
Photographs by the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company. Media may use photographs with attribution.
Companies & Organizations Dispatched To & Operating at this Incident: