Ocean City Blaze Destroys Two Duplexes, Fire Officials Search for Cause

first_imgOcean City firefighters douse hot spots after an early morning blaze destroys two beachfront duplexes. By Maddy VitaleChris Cashman looked out at the charred remains of his vacation home from an early morning fire Thursday in Ocean City and reflected.“There were a lot of memories in that house in a short amount of time,” Cashman said of his duplex at 48th Street and Central Avenue. “We were here since 2015.”His close friend, Denise D’Andrea, added, “We are just thankful no one was hurt. We are very thankful to the firefighters.”They watched as firefighters doused hot spots in the Central Avenue duplexes at 4835 and the one next door at 4829. Neither beachfront home was occupied at the time of the fire and there were no reported injuries.Chris Cashman, one of the homeowners, and his friend, Denise D’Andrea, look at the damage.Fire investigators from Ocean City, Cape May County, Margate and the state searched for clues for the cause of the blaze. They used machinery to sift through rubble and cut through some debris.“It is good to have as many eyes on it as possible,” Ocean City Fire Chief Jim Smith said of the multiple agencies looking into the cause of the blaze. Smith spoke with Cashman and D’Andrea. He explained step by step, what the firefighters and fire officials were doing, and answered some of their questions. He also gave them a packet with information about fire claims. Cashman’s duplex and the residence next door were destroyed, while a third duplex sustained extensive damage. Hours earlier, at 3:20 a.m., the Ocean City Fire Department responded to multiple calls reporting a structure fire on the 4800 block of Central Avenue.Firefighters arrived to find the third floor of a beachfront duplex fully engulfed in flames. The fire had also already spread to the homes on both sides of the duplex.Smith said he could not determine exactly when the fire broke out, but, he said, it was “well ahead of the 911 calls.”Firefighters from Fire Station 3, which is located at 46th Street, responded within 90 seconds, Smith noted.But the fire had already ripped through the two duplexes and threatened a third residence.“The guys did an incredible job with what they were dealt,” Smith said, adding that the firefighters kept the fire from spreading and it was under control quickly.The street view along Central Avenue gives a glimpse of the devastation.Diane Ade and her husband Greg Ade watched from the beach, along with other onlookers, as fire personnel worked on the fire investigation and doused hot spots.The Ades have a vacation home on 45th Street. They were asleep when the fire broke out. But Diane Ade said she awoke to a lot of noise.“I heard an unusual amount of sirens, and helicopters were flying really low,” she said as she pointed to what was left of two duplexes. “I looked outside, but I didn’t see any flames.”The Ades, who are down through the holiday to attend the First Night New Year’s Eve celebration in Ocean City, said they are used to it being relatively quiet in their area in the off-season.Smith said that like the Ades, there are a lot of seasonal residents in Ocean City, especially in the area where the fire occurred. He pointed to homes along Central Avenue near the fire that were unoccupied, adding that is a major reason for the delay in the 911 calls to the fire department.At their meeting Thursday, members of City Council commended the Fire Department for preventing the blaze from spreading to even more homes and causing more destruction.“All indications are that they really did a nice job,” Councilman Bob Barr said of fire personnel. Councilman Michael DeVlieger added, “They put their lives on the line. They stepped up and they stopped it.” City Business Administrator George Savastano said the third building has been deemed a total loss.“We’ll keep an eye on that site and let you know the results of that investigation,” Savastano told the Council members.Fire companies from Marmora, Strathmere and Margate provided mutual assistance, along with a TriCare EMS team from Somers Point, the Upper Township Rescue Squad and AtlantiCare paramedics.Diane Ade, who has a vacation home at 45th Street, says she was awakened by sirens Thursday morning.Firefighters survey the damage.last_img read more