Three hurt in Dover house fire

DOVER — Ben Shockley was watching the Athletics-Yankees game after midnight Wednesday when he noticed a flame at a home on the other side of Kenton Road.

Nothing unusual, he initially thought — the neighbors must be having another bonfire.

Problem was “[i]t just kept growing and growing,” he said.

Eventually, the home in the 2900 block of Kenton Road was engulfed by flames. Two occupants suffered smoke inhalation (one critically) and lacerations that required hospitalization. A firefighter suffered minor burns.

The home located just outside the city of Dover corporate limits sustained about $50,000 in damage, officials said. It appeared to be uninhabitable.

The Delaware Fire Marshal’s Office attributed a lack of working fire detectors to delaying discovery of the blaze and contributing to the injuries.

A 14-year-old was in critical but stable condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvani, the Fire Marshal said. A 42-year-old was in stable condition at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover.

A firefighter suffered minor burns to the hands and face and was transported to Kent General where he was listed in stable condition.

The Red Cross of Delmarva responded to offer assistance to the residents.

The home located just outside the city of Dover corporate limits sustained about $50,000 in damage, officials said. It appeared to be uninhabitable.
(Photo by Marc Clery)

“The American Red Cross is providing temporary financial assistance to the family,” spokesman Richard J. McIntire said. “They are staying with family, so lodging help was not requested at this point.

“As in similar cases, the Red Cross will remain in contact with the fire victims to offer recovery and other support services as they work toward normalcy.”

The Cheswold Volunteer Fire Company arrived first. Its firefighters found heavy fire at the home and immediately called neighboring companies to assist, officials said. Other responding agencies included Dover, Leipsic, Hartly and Camden-Wyoming fire companies, Kent County EMS, Dover and Delaware State Police.

The residents discovered the blaze at 12:48 a.m., authorities said. Firefighters had it under control by 1:33 a.m.

Later in the morning, however, residents reported seeing a smaller fire rise up just before 7 a.m. The reburn required a second response to extinguish it.

Neighbor Pat Selg was awakened by a barking dog and checked outside to see what the disturbance was.

“As soon as I opened my eyes I could see all the flashing lights,” Ms. Selg said. “I looked out the window and said ‘Oh my gosh.’

“There were all kinds of cops and firemen out there, it was crazy. I told my husband and son about it and we went outside.”

Mrs. Selg’s son recorded a couple videos of the initial fire, which she said was put out “rather quickly.” A few flareups occurred as firefighters poked at the ceiling and continued to hose down the structure, she said.

Second fire arises

After arriving at work hours later, Mrs. Selg was told the fire had risen again at the home and 911 had been called. The Cheswold Volunteer Fire Company’s run log listed the second call arriving at 6:57 a.m.

Mr. Shockley estimated 12 to 15 fire vehicles arrived for the first blaze and perhaps four to five the second time.

“The second one wasn’t as big at the first but I could definitely see flames,” he said. “Honestly, it was kind of shocking.”

Both Mrs. Selg and Mr. Shockley said they were concerned for their neighbors, who they didn’t know well but had a cordial relationship from afar with waves and smiles. Mr. Shockley described the father who lived there as “very friendly” and noted that he had occasionally helped two girls who live there get their vehicles started.

Added Mrs. Selg about the father, “He was a nice, nice man, he really was.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office continued to investigate the cause and origin of the fire Wednesday.


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