Early morning fire kills one in Dover, city officials pledge support for victims
DOVER, Del. – The smell of smoke was still thick in the air Wednesday afternoon, as fire officials cleaned up the scene of a fatal blaze. The flames took the life of one man, and heavily damaged a residential and commercial building on the corner of Loockerman and South New Streets. “It’s a real tragedy. I hope the investigation produces some positive answers,” said Dover City Councilman David Anderson.
“A Real Tragedy”
In all, 17 people are now without a home. Meanwhile, two businesses on the bottom floor of the building are reduced to charred remains. “So many people, and the businesses, have been affected. Tragically, many people have lost their homes,” said Councilman Anderson.
Neighbors tell 47ABC they woke up to shooting flames, thick smoke, and firefighters rushing to the scene around 2:40 a.m. 57-year-old Gowens Williams perished in the blaze. Eight others were treated for smoke inhalation and minor injuries. “Obviously, the loss of life is tragic. But, we’re very fortunate that it wasn’t more than that. We’ve seen other situations that unfolded differently,” said Dover Police Department’s Sgt. Mark Hoffman.
As morning turned to afternoon, fire officials were left sweeping up debris, and pumping roughly 100,000 gallons of water out of the basement. Fire officials say the water reached up to about four and a half feet. All of this happening, as a burned out shell loomed overhead.
Supporting the Victims
City leaders could also be seen checking in with those impacted, and pledging their support. “I just want to encourage people to support the local charities. There’s Red Cross, there’s Choose Joy, and the CenDel foundation, which is establishing to help both the residents and the businesses,” said Councilman Anderson. “It’s a terrible loss for the city, and our fourth district in particular. We’re going to stay together with the people.”
Councilman Anderson is calling on Dover to support residents displaced by the fire, as they begin to pick up the pieces. “We’re going to join together with the community and help them rebuild, because that’s what we do. We’re a city where we come together in tragedy, and we show who we are,” he said.
Anyone who wishes to help the victims can reach out to the Red Cross of Delmarva, the Choose Joy Foundation, or the CenDel Foundation. Meanwhile, the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Dover Police Department at (302) 736-7111.