Maryland FFs Battle Well-Involved House Fire

The incident commander called tankers to complete the water supply.


On July 17 at 4:29 p.m., Stations 16, 2 (Salisbury) and 5 (Hebron) were dispatched for a structure fire. Wicomico County Central provided additional information of heavy smoke and fire visible from the roof of the structure. This was immediately confirmed by the crew aboard the first due units from Salisbury who noticed the large column of smoke from the area.

Acting Assistant Chief 1 (Captain Gladwell) arrived on the scene and reported heavy fire and smoke throughout the entire living area of an approximately 3,000 square foot, two-and-a-half-story wood frame residence. As he established the "Setters Court Command," an occupant stated that no one was in the residence.

A defensive attack was initiated due to the large amount of fire present in the structure. A walk-around revealed heavy loss to Side C with radiant heat beginning to curl vinyl siding on the Side B exposure. The crew of Engine 16 (Reserve Engine) was assigned deck gun operations to attack the fire, while personnel of the second-due engine from Station 5 was ordered to direct their water on the B exposure.

Truck 2 was assigned to setup the ladder pipe on side A and Engine 1-1 was assigned water supply for the initial attack units. Command requested additional tankers from Stations 6 (Parsonsburg), 12 (Sharptown), 5 (Hebron) and 74 (Delmar). When Tanker 608 arrived, its personnel set up drop tank operations at the corner of Setters and Pointers with units to relay water to those operating on Side A. Tower 5 was positioned on Crooked Oak Lane, and its crew directed to utilize their master stream from Side C with support tankers.

Tanker shuttle operations began with units utilizing the dry hydrant at Rockawalkin Pond on Nanticoke Road. Engine 161 was positioned there to draft for the tanker resupply. Initially water supply was an issue as units ran out of water early, however the supply was re-established once the tankers began to arrive and along with the coordination of a Water Supply Officer. Companies assigned to the water supply were switched to a radio channel different than the fireground operations.

Paramedic 1 and 2 were assigned various duties to include initial aid with hoselines and rehab, later supported by ladies' auxiliary units. Rescue 16 was assigned as the Rapid Intervention Team. Acting Deputy Chief 1 (Assistant Chief John Tull) was assigned the Public Information Officer duties. Assistant Chief Bryan Records was initially assigned safety; however, this was reassigned later to Lieutenant Insley.

A personal accountability report showed a total of 57 personnel operating on scene. Elsewhere in the city, Lieutenant Cropper handled City-Wide Command duties.

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office requested an accelerent detecting canine from Cecil County to the scene. They determined a possible electrical problem with a fan or light fixture on the rear porch as the probable cause.

Remaining units applied over 3,000 gallons of water to mop up after the investigation was finished.