Fire departments kept on their toes St. Patty’s weekend


It didn’t appear that the luck of the Irish was with local fire departments this weekend as alarms went off considerably more than usual.

The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company responded Sunday evening to a fire that broke out around 8:30 p.m. on Bunting Avenue in Fenwick Island. They were assisted by the Frankford, Millville, Rehoboth Beach, Roxana and Ocean City, Md., fire departments.

The home had been occupied for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall Lee, though everyone escaped safely. Damages were estimated at approximately $250,000. Investigators determined that the fire originated in the second-floor kitchen area, but the cause was still under investigation early this week.

Lee noted that on Sunday, the Sussex County division of the Delaware Volunteer Fire Companies responded to four calls in Oak Orchard, Delmar and Lewes before the fire in Fenwick.

“We were busier than we had been in the past,” he said. “All those calls make for a long day.” He added that with more people coming down to the shore holidays and the approaching summer, there’s always the risk of something happening.

“It’s a given,” he said. “The more people, the more potential for accidents there are.” As people return to homes that haven’t had residents for months at a time, he said, the chance increases. “Someone will fire up a heater or fireplace that they aren’t used to using. We’ve got to be ready for anything.”

The Millville Volunteer Fire Company responded to six other calls in Sunday, five of which dispatched an ambulance, said public information officer, Robert Powell. “It was a busy 24-hour period for us,” he said.

Among the calls that came in were automobile accidents on Holts Landing Road and the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Club House Road.