At 10:40 pm on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched as mutual aid to the Sudlersville VFC, to assist with a grain dryer on fire in the 1000 block of Dell Foxx Road. This is located off Maryland 300 (Sudlersville Road) between U.S. 301 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) and Sudlersville. The initial call bringing the Sudlersville VFC, along with initial mutual aid companies, was dispatched at 10:32 pm. Eight ( minutes into the incident, we were picked up to fill out the first alarm assignment, which was short of equipment at that point.
First arriving found a large grain dryer on fire at a farm-based grain operation. A grain dryer, typically fueled by propane, is used to reduce the moisture content in harvested grain. The grain should be mostly dry prior to it’s being stored and eventually shipped to market. If the moisture content is too high, mold could result in the product. Occasionally, during the drying process, the product gets too hot and ignites. The only recourse is to “knock the fire down”, then unload the grain dryer. This is usually an involved, time-consuming operation. The entire load of corn in the dryer at the time of the fire is usually ruined. Our crews were tasked with assisting the emptying of the dryer and hitting the hot spots as they appeared.
Some of the attached photographs appear hazy. This is not a photography issue. Because the night air was heavy, that is smoke which has banked down to ground level. Once the bulk of the fire had been “knocked down” by the Church Hill VFC elevating platform, the smoke condition lifted.
Our crews operated at this fire for two (2) hours, forty (40) minutes.