Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office this week was investigating an early morning house fire in Ocean View in which one person was killed. Firefighters found a person deceased inside the burning house in the 100 block of Woodland Avenue on Sunday morning, Aug. 16, just after 2 a.m.
The Millville Volunteer Fire Company responded to reports of a house on fire at the southern corner of Woodland Avenue and West Avenue, also adjacent to Balsa Street. Firefighters found flames engulfing the two-story dwelling, reported the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
State fire investigators were still investigating the fire’s origin and cause mid-week. Although the house’s three street-facing sides appeared to be intact, the southwest side was engulfed in flames, leaving only charred timbers.
“Since there’s a fire death, it’s under investigation by the fire marshal’s office,” said Bob Powell of the Millville VFC.
Delaware’s Division of Forensic Science was to conduct an autopsy to positively identify the victim and nature of their death. The division did not respond to questions regarding the timeframe before Coastal Point’s press deadline this week. (In some cases, the division will publically provide the manner of death — homicide, accident, etc.).
The blaze was declared under control at 3:35 a.m. on Sunday. Heavy fire damage was estimated at $25,000. There were no smoke alarms in the house, officials said. Fire companies from Millville, Bethany Beach, Roxana and Frankford were dispatched, as well as three deputy fire marshals and Sussex County Medic 105.
To fill the gaps at the responding departments, additional fire companies were activated: Rehoboth Beach, Dagsboro, Selbyville, Lewes, Millsboro and Gumboro, and Ocean City, Bishopville and Ocean Pines, Md.
“The companies that are closest to the alarm, manpower and equipment pretty much get stripped,” Powell said. “So there’s still emergency coverage for where the event is happening. That’s a standard thing that goes on. So … communities are always protected.”
Editor’s Note: The Coastal Point is not publishing the name of the victim, as officials have not publicly released it as of our deadline. That can be attributed to next-of-kin not being notified yet, or because the fire is still part of an active investigation.