Two dead in Catastrophic Calvert Townhouse Fire Two Blocks from Firehouse; Three Firefighters Injured, 17 residents homeless – Solomon’s Landing Repeat!

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Fatal townhouse row fire left 2 dead and 17 without homes, along with injuries to several firefighters in Chesapeake Beach, Md. April 3, 2019.

Two dead in Catastrophic Calvert Townhouse Fire Two Blocks from Firehouse; Three Firefighters Injured, 17 residents homeless

CHESAPEAKE BEACH, MD.  – Two people were killed in a massive townhouse fire which left seventeen others without a home.

Calvert County Commissioners still fail to fund daytime firecrews in spite of big tax payments from the gas and power plants paying millions over the last 40 years.

Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshals report that they are currently on the scene conducting an origin and cause investigation of a late afternoon fire that occurred on April 3, 2019.

At approximately 4:14 p.m., North Beach Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding companies were dispatched to 3889 Gordon Stinnett Ave, Calvert County for a structure fire. Fire Department units arrived and located heavy fire conditions in multiple townhouses.  A second alarm was requested bringing additional units from Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties. 

Complete and total destruction from a daytime fire took place two blocks from a firehouse where career firefighters could have been on duty if Calvert County funded such positions instead of various frivolous activities and projects. Calvert is funding Medic Units for the first time in 2019. The North Beach Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1926 and has done a remarkable job for decades. While Calvert’s politicians have allowed unlimited development such as these townhouses, not a red cent was earmarked for providing daytime paid firefighters. One of the most powerful officials in Maryland represents this area in the State Senate and lives nearby – Senate President Mike Miller.

Maryland Fire Marshals report that shortly after the arrival of the units a collapse of the structure occurred.  Several firefighters were injured, all non-life threatening. Three firefighter’s sustained burns and one had a shoulder injury. All firefighters were from the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department and all have been treated and released from the hospital.

Twenty-one years after the Solomon’s Landing Condos fire wiped out a row of buildings, this fire took place in an area without paid daytime firefighters. – Chesapeake Beach, Md.

Crews quickly learned there were at least two residents who could not be located.  Subsequently, two residents were located deceased within the collapsed fire debris.  Both victims have been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsies.  At this time a positive identification of both victims is pending.          

Approximately 17 people have been displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Solomon’s Landing fire engulfs entire building in 1998.

 Investigators said that it is reported by witnesses that the fire started on the exterior of the building and therefore, there was no sprinkler and no smoke alarm activation.   Damages are estimated to be at $1,000,000. 

The fatal townhouse fire in Chesapeake Beach was located near the ballfields and water park. Three firefighters were injured.
Devastating scene of fatal fire that destroyed a row of townhouses only a short distance from the North Beach VFD firehouse on April 3, 2019

The Solomon’s Landing fire destroyed an entire row of waterfront condos in a similar fire where mulch in the landscaping caught fire, swept up the exterior and rushed across the attic of the building, leaving the structure in a heap of ashes.

The daytime 1998 Solomons Landing fire engulfs building after flames spread from smoldering mulch near building up to the attic. Photo by Ken Rossignol

Daytime fires are often catastrophic in communities without any career paid daytime fire crews which are protected only by volunteers.

Solomon’s Landing fire occurred at a time during the day when there were not enough volunteers to get trucks rolling from the Solomon’s firehouse just two blocks from the fire. Fortunately, St. Leonard firefighter Dan Baker was nearby and able to drive a Solomon’s engine to the fire.

The Calvert County Sheriff’s Department is providing assistance with the investigation.

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