Residents recount escaping early morning Dewey Beach blaze
DEWEY BEACH, Del. – This Easter weekend in Dewey Beach was met with devastation an early morning fire engulfed and destroyed three homes. “It was a moment I step back and realize this is something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life,” says resident Allison Diller.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Rehoboth Beach, a volunteer fire company arrived on the 1900 block of Bayard Avenue, finding a chaotic scene framed by shooting flames and thick smoke. “We were watching out the window at first it was just really hard to tell what was going on because it said spread so quickly and it was really scary,” says a witnessing neighbor, Alexis Hawk.
Neighbors describe the moments they witnessed roofs collapsing, and the fire destroying four vehicles. “There were just such strong winds in the morning that were just pushing the fire that way,” says Molly Hansen. Her young brother, Liam also witnessed the fire and says their mother called 911. “We just saw a bunch of fire and now it’s just burnt down and it’s just crazy that this happened.” L. Hansen adds, “It just sucks how all these nice cars are burnt and it’s just crazy how it all fell down.”
Witnesses say it was like nothing they’d ever seen, and the aftermath is sticking with them. “The whole house smells like smoke and there were so many ashes like on everyone’s car, just everywhere,” says Maura Hansen. She adds, “This is my first time seeing a big fire, and this it’s definitely a big one for my first one.”
As devastating as the fire was, fire officials, say everyone made it out alive. Resident Allison Diller tells 47 ABC, that she woke to the sound of a smoke detector, and men yelling and that’s when she knew she had to act quickly. Diller says she grabbed her clothes, her four-legged friend, and escaped with her life. “If it had been my dog, she’s my child, my best friend and if we had lost her I don’t know that I’ll be able to speak to you right now,” says Diller.
Meanwhile, Dewey Beach police officer Jack Kane played a big role in the day. We’re told he’s now being hailed a hero for his swift and potentially life-saving actions. “There was a local police officer who was on the coastal highway and saw smoke so he was actually at the house helping us exit,” says Diller. She expresses her sincere gratitude. “Thank you so much to Jack or Officer Kane, for helping us get out.”
Diller says if it wasn’t for the working smoke detectors, her neighbors, and Officer Kane, she’s not sure she or any of the other residents would have made it out alive. “I’m kind of making like a priority list right now, and I’m thinking that it’s going to take some time to go through the steps and of course the emotional processing it is a loss.”
Although neighbors say they’re still shaken up, they’re just thankful everyone is okay. “It was also really scary because you never really know how fast it’s going to spread or how many houses it would destroy or if it could kill someone,” says another witnessing neighbor, Aubrey Pace. She adds, “It opens your eyes, like that could have been your house.”
Officials tell us, that multiple fire companies responded to the scene and fire damage is expected to exceed $1,000,000.
The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal is currently investigating the fire and anyone with information is asked to call them at 302- 856-5600.