OCFD distributes, installs free smoke alarms following fatal fire
WEST OCEAN CITY, Md. – Fire officials are investigating a fatal fire that happened Monday night.
Around 10:50 p.m. the Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) and Berlin Volunteer Fire Company responded to a shed on the 9000 block of Elm Street. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office says a male victim was found inside. He later died due to his injuries. Investigators say a heating appliance was left too close to combustibles. The structure also did not have a working smoke alarm.
The fatal blaze renewed a sense of urgency to get working smoke alarms into the community. Tuesday morning, OCFD personnel got to work, handing out free smoke alarms and even offering to install them at no charge. “In this situation, it’s a heightened awareness because we did have a fatality. So, we’re out in the community in the general vicinity of where the fire occurred, here on Elm Street, knocking on doors in the community,” said OCFD Chief Richard Bowers.
Neighbors tells 47ABC the knock on the door from OCFD personnel was a welcome one. Even if they already had a working smoke alarm, they say it’s an opportunity to pass them on to loved ones who might not. “I have one, anyhow. I have one downstairs, and I did have one upstairs,” said Norma Timmons. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”
While not everyone took OCFD up on their offer to install the alarms, some did take one just to keep on hand. Fire officials made sure that those who might reach out for a free smoke alarm in the future know where to turn. “At least before we leave here, we have leaned forward, before anyone else has another fire and, God forbid, we lose another life,” said Chief Bowers. “We’re probably going to be giving out a couple dozen, which is alarming. But, at the same time it’s very reassuring that we’ve at least made an impact in the community.”
OCFD says if you’re in need of a working smoke detector, just give them a call. They’ll come out and they’ll even install it for you at no cost. And if you don’t live in the area, but need a working smoke alarm, you should reach out to your local fire department.