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Smoke Detectors Save Residence
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company responds to hundreds of automatic fire alarms each year. Most are false alarms due to system malfunctions, alarm systems not being properly serviced or various cooking mishaps. In the early evening of Tuesday, June 25th, the fire company was dispatched to one of those alarms.

A 3-person Engine crew and 2 Firefighter/EMT’s on the in-town ambulance responded to 2 St. Lawrence Street only to find nothing showing but they did hear an audible alarm. “We don’t break down doors to check on alarms when no one is home because we would be replacing doors every day,” said Past Chief Bryan Burton, the Command officer on the call. After a walk around the outside of the building, with still no evidence of fire, the crew asked a neighbor to call the owner of the house. The neighbor, speaking to the crew from her 2nd floor balcony, then noticed small flames in the upstairs window of the house and pointed it out to the on-scene crew. Burton upgraded the call to a Structure Fire response sending the balance of the alarm assignment from Rehoboth Beach Fire Company along with automatic assistance from the Lewes Fire Company and Bethany Beach Fire Company.

The on-scene crew made quick work of it; breaching the front door and stretching in a hand line to quickly extinguish the fire. Burton said, “A number of factors worked in our favor tonight. Thanks to the alert neighbor offering to help out and very efficient work by our small crew on scene, this fire would have spread in short order and this would have been a large fire with major damage.”

Smoke from the fire caused damage to the kitchen, dining and living room areas of the house but damage from the fire itself was limited to a small area. The Delaware State Fire Marshal is investigating The homeowner was notified and was driving in from the DC area to assess the situation.

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