At approximately 11 am on Friday, December 7, 2018, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched as Automatic Aid to the Church Hill Volunteer Fire Company, for a Dwelling Fire in the 100 block of Concord Road. This is located in Chester Harbor, Queen Annes County. The initial call came into 9-1-1, reporting a fire in the home. The 9-1-1 Call-Taker could hear the Smoke Alarm activating in the background. Before detailed information could be obtained, the call was disconnected. The Call-Taker was not able to reestablish contact with anyone at the fire address. Because of Enhanced 9-1-1, which provides the telephone number and address of the caller's location, there was no delay in dispatch.
A fire officer from the Church Hill VFC, nearby when the incident was dispatched, was the first to arrive and reported "Smoke Showing" from the structure. All occupants of the home, including two dogs, were able to safely exit prior to the arrival of fire equipment.
The first fire apparatus to arrive was our Engine 6. The crew deployed a single 1-3/4" hose line through the rear. Advancing into the home, they were met with fire running down the hallway, which was quickly knocked down. Continuing to push in, they found fire had total possession in one of the bedrooms. This fire was also quickly knocked out. In the vernacular of the fire service, this was a classic "Room & Contents" fire. As more resources arrived, these additional crews helped with smoke removal and overhaul. Overhaul is the process we use to ensure the fire is completely extinguished.
As a matter of routine, the power company was requested to cut electric service to the home. As it turned out, a Choptank Electric truck was working nearby, and arrived quickly. He pulled the electric meter prior to the arrival of the second engine. Because the family was displaced, Red Cross was requested to assist them. The Maryland State Fire Marshals Office was requested. They arrived and conducted an "Origin & Cause" investigation.
Included in the photograph array are photographs of damaged turnout gear, the Personal Protective Equipment firefighters wear. This damage was discovered back at the fire station, during the "clean-up" phase. It's the lower pant leg of the turnout pants, above the cuff. It was worn by one of our firefighters making the initial entry and attack. It demonstrates the hazard(s) firefighters routinely face doing this job. The firefighter reports not being aware of when or where this occurred during the incident. The value of our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should never be understated.
There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. The Chestertown VFC operated at this incident for about two (2) hours.
Photographs courtesy of the Church Hill VFC, Chestertown VFC and Queen Annes County Emergency Medical Services.