Police and fire briefs: Royal Oak home burns

$4.5 million in damage


Around 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, Stations 40, 60, 70 and Talbot Co. paramedic 94 were alerted for a report of a working dwelling fire at 24358 Deep Neck Road in the Royal Oak area. Chief 40 (Jones) arrived and reported a fully involved, approximately 5,500 square foot dwelling, and immediately requested a Second Alarm and the Fire Marshals bringing Stations 20, 30, 50, 80 and Dorchester Station 1, a report from St. Michaels Volunteer Fire Department said. Defensive operations were used, as most of the structure had or was collapsing on arrival. Fire attack relied on water from both a tanker shuttle to the Bellevue Dock and Boat 70 from Tilghman to fight this fire in a secluded area. Units operated until around midnight in snow, sleet and temperatures just above freezing. Damages were estimated at $4.5 million for structure and contents. A report from the Office of the State Fire Marshal said the home was owned by Scott Fassbach and Carolyn Cassey There were no injuries, deaths or arrests. The two-alarm emergency called in 73 responders and many agencies from around the region, with the primary department being Easton VFD. The cause is under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this fire is asked to contact the Upper Eastern Regional Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal at 410-822-7609. Preston home burns On Feb. 11 at 6:38 a.m., Caroline 911 alerted stations 200 (Preston), 100 (Federalsburg), and Dorchester Co. Sta.6 (Hurlock) for a structure fire in the area of Harmony Road and Nelpine Road just outside the town limits. Chief-2 responded with Asst. Chief 216 (Phillips). Caroline advised of a single caller passing by advising something large on fire through the trees, unsure what it was, a report from Preston Volunteer Fire Company said. A second call was received shortly after advising a residential structure fully involved. Talbot Co. station 60 (Easton) was requested for an additional tanker. Caroline Co. Paramedic 12 arrived and confirmed report, a small residential structure with heavy fire showing, fully involved. Chief-2 arrived with Asst. Chief 216 assuming command. E/T201 arrived, the crew placed two handlines in service making a quick knock on the fire. As other units arrived they assisted with fire attack and overhaul hitting any hot/smoldering spots. Nobody was home when the fire started. Crews worked for approximately hours and the scene was transferred to the Maryland State Fire Marshall’s office to complete an investigation. Other responding agencies responding to the two-alarm fire were Federalsburg Volunteer Fire Company, Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company, Easton Volunteer Fire Dept., and Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal. A report from the Office of the State Fire Marshal said the home was owned by L. Edwards. It sustained an estimated loss of $60,000 to the structure and $20,000 to its contents. Additional Information: If anyone has information regarding this fire, please contact the Upper Eastern Regional Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal at 410-822-7609. Theft, heroin On Feb. 6, deputies from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Bethel Road in northern Dorchester County for a report of a vehicle stuck in a field. Upon arrival, deputies made contact with a 32-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, both residents of 19422 Handy Road, Bridgeville, Delaware. Deputies determined the pair were suspects in stealing control wire from three irrigation systems in the area. During a search of the suspects and vehicle, a small quantity of heroin was found along with paraphernalia.

Jamie Isabella Reed and Matthew John Davis were charged with three counts of theft, three counts of malicious destruction of property, possession of heroin and possession of paraphernalia. Davis was also charged with being a fugitive from justice as he was wanted in Delaware. Davis was held without bond and Reed was released by a court commissioner on $15,000 unsecured bond. Fire-related deaths Preliminary data concerning the number of fatal fires investigated by or reported to the Office of the State Fire Marshal indicates 51 Marylanders succumbed to injuries related to hostile fires. This represents a 22% decrease in fire-related deaths as compared to 65 deaths reported in 2019 and is 6% below the previous record low of 54 fire deaths recorded in 2012. Thirty-three of the confirmed fire deaths in 2020 occurred in residential properties, which is an almost 37% decrease (36.54%) over the 52 fire deaths in these properties in 2019. For several years, the annual average number of fire deaths in Maryland has continued on a downward trend. The annual average number of fire deaths recorded during the past 25 years was 71, 20 years was 70, the 10-year average was 64, and during the past five years, the annual average has fallen to 65. The highest number of fire deaths recorded in a single year over the past 35 years was experienced in 1988 when 129 victims succumbed to the effects of fire. “Unfortunately, Maryland has already experienced four confirmed fire deaths in the first few days of 2021,” a statement from State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said. “This sad news reminds us that we must always remain vigilant and practice fire safety every day.” One of the significant factors in reducing the number of fire deaths in Maryland was a 2013 law aimed at reducing home fire deaths. It required replacing any battery-only operated smoke alarm over 10 years old with a unit powered by a 10-year sealed-in battery. Fire Marshal Geraci said, “The importance of ensuring the proper maintenance and use of smoke alarms is paramount. These early warning devices can be the difference between life or death.” Easton vandalism Over the past week, the Easton Police Department investigated several incidents of malicious destruction of property occurring in the Patriot Square development off of Port Street/Meadow Drive. During these incidents, unknown individuals have kicked the doors of residences, and subsequently ran off when confronted. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is urged to contact the Easton Police at 410-822-1111, or TIP line at 410-763-6140, or email police@town-eastonmd.com. You can remain anonymous. Bridge doughnuts and jail A statement from the Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff said on Feb. 11: “Driver who did doughnuts on the Bay Bridge sentenced to a weekend in jail and 18 months probation — If you recall from last September, after the H20i weekend that took place in Ocean City, a driver decided to do doughnuts on the westbound span of the Bay Bridge. To all of you who gave tips and sent us video, we thank you. Again, QAC pulled together and justice was served! “Gary Ray Montague Jr. entered an Alford plea to disorderly conduct and reckless driving. Through the investigation, officers identified 22-year-old Montague of Dumfries, Va. as the suspected driver of the vehicle in the video, and consulted with the Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. “Montague was charged with four counts of disorderly conduct and 23 traffic violations. Traffic charges included reckless driving, willfully damaging a highway, and driving a motor vehicle in a manner intended to cause skidding.”