Letter to Editor: FAST ACTION by residents saved homes from the careless discharge of fireworks too close to brush and trees in Dameron



PURPOSE:  The purpose of this letter is to REPORT TO YOU, the heroic deeds of Mr.  Roy Fedders, Mr. John Hamill, Mr. Collin Hamill, Guy Clarke, and Kristy Clarke on the evening of 4 July 2023 at approximately 10:00 PM.

HEROIC ACTION BEING REPORTED:  Mr. Roy Fedders, Mr. Colin Hamill, Mr. John Hamill, Mr. John Clarke, and Mrs. Kristy Clarke – together and with the help of Ridge and Lexington Park Fire Department, extinguished two dangerous fires, that in doing so, saved our homes and property from being destroyed by two fires caused by another neighbor’s delinquent behavior – of exploding fireworks near an adjoining pine tree forest – that surround our beautiful homes.   

DETAILS: At about 10:00 PM, friends attending a 4th of July party at Roy Fedder’s home – notice that a large twenty-foot fire broke out at 16638 St Jeromes Neck Road.   Roy said it looked like the Earnshaw house was on fire.  Roy immediately ran down to see the fire and discovered a large tall bush was on fire within twenty feet of Wade Earnshaw’s home (16638 St Jeromes Neck Road, Dameron, Maryland.)   The flames were so high that they were reaching toward the roof of Wade Earnshaw’s home.  The roof was tar shingles composed of horribly ignitable material.  Without any regard for his personal safety, Roy used his feet and shoes to stop the fire from spreading.  With the blessings of the Lord, the wind shifted slightly away from Mr. Earnshaw’s home, decreasing the danger of the roof catching on fire, while Roy managed to contain the fire from spreading to adjoining bushes.   If the other tall – huge – bushes had caught on fire, the embers from the fires could have landed on Earnshaw’s and Krilich’s home rooftops, and their houses could have burnt to the ground.

Twenty minutes later, at about 10:20 PM,  while walking his dog, Mr. Colin Hamill discovered another fire, in the trees, at the home of Peter Borlo, located at 16659 St Jerome Neck Road, Dameron, Maryland, 20628.  Mr. Colin Hamill called his father (a nearby neighbor), to inform him of the second fire.   Mr. John Hamill and Guy Clarke immediately ran to the fire, and with the help of his son, in the dark – by the blessings of God, located a long water hose across the street, attached to Colonel Krilich’s home.  They urgently traced back the hose to find the mechanical turn-on turn-off valve; after decoding the turn-on value, they finally got the water to flow in the hose while the fire continued to rage across the street.  

Meanwhile, Kristy Clarke, independently on her own – saw the danger of the fire spreading out of control and made the independent decision to telephone 911 which Ridge Fire House, backed by Lexington Park Firehouse, immediately responded.  


ROY FEDDERS, COLIN HAMILL, JOHN HAMILL, GUY CLARKE, and KRISTY CLARKE – in spontaneous teamwork –  saw the horrible danger that the woodland fire could cause, igniting a fuel train of dry forests limbs and trees that could have destroyed seven homes.  Their immediate SEPARATE and COMBINED ACTIONS  in putting water on the fire saved the entire area from being destroyed.


Although the reaction time by the Ridge and Lexington Park fire trucks was as fast as possible, by the time they arrived at the location of the fire, it would have been too late to contain the fire in the woods along the road.   The fire would have spread into the limbs of the dry pine trees, causing embers to flow all over the neighborhood and landing on the roofs of at least seven nearby homes.  

We also commend the outstanding and immediate response by the Ridge and Lexington Park Firehouses.   They used special water to make sure the fires would not start up again.  We are sure that despite the neighbor’s efforts, without the Ridge and Lexington Park fire department assistance, the fires could have restarted.  


I and my neighbors, as listed in this letter, are extremely grateful for the heroic and decisive action immediately taken by ROY FEDDERS, COLIN HAMILL, JOHN HAMILL, GUY CLARKE, KRISTY CLARKE, and RIDGE FIRE CHIEF TOM TROSSBACH.

REQUEST:  I and my neighbors respectfully request that the St Mary’s County Commissioners recognize the following:

ROY FEDDERS, COLIN HAMILL, JOHN HAMILL, GUY CLARKE and KRISTY CLARKE, and RIDGE FIRE CHIEF TOM TROSSBACH. with deserving and appropriate recognition and honors for their spontaneous reaction to do the right thing, regardless of the risk to their own lives, and their courageous actions to prevent our neighborhood from burning down to the ground.   The fire loss could have been approximately 7 million dollars in current real estate and woodland property values.  


Colonel James Krilich

Neighborhood Point of Contact  

Coordination:  all my neighbors verbally concurred and authorized me to send this letter – which represents our united agreement to its contents.   Each has been included as an info copy.

Backyard fireworks mishap resulted in the death of Waldorf man.

CHARLES COUNTY, JULY 6, 2023 –  Deputy State Fire Marshal’s along with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, responded to Bannister Circle in Waldorf of Charles County for an injured subject due to the detonation of a firework. On July 5th, around 9 pm, a group of friends were gathered setting off fireworks behind a residence when one firework went off while in a mortar tube. The victim was a 20-year-old male who sustained hand and chest injuries. He was subsequently transported to Charles Regional Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

“Fireworks have been a long tradition of many celebrations. Please make safety your number one priority so everyone can go home safe. The safest way enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the many public fireworks displays throughout the state.” said the State Fire Marshal. State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, extend their condolences to the family and friends of the victim during this tragic incident.

As Marylanders enjoy the rest of summer, there are several ways to enjoy fireworks while avoiding injury:

 However, for individuals who wish to celebrate on their own:

  • Purchase the fireworks in the location where you intend to discharge them. Check with the local municipality to determine what fireworks are legal for use in that area.
  • Read and follow label warnings and instructions.
  • Do not allow small children to use fireworks.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while using fireworks.
  • Have a bucket of water or hose available.
  • Fully extinguish remains of fireworks in water before disposal.

Sen. Jack Bailey will present on July 19th a recognition of appreciation for the fast actions of those who saved homes from a quickly spreading fire at St. Jeromes Beach on the 4th of July.

Jack Bailey at his family’s farm, Trent Hall. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

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