UPDATE: Two-alarm fire hits Race St., firefighter injured

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Juanita Darby
Off-duty firefighters, Cambridge police officers and civilians joined to help 12 persons escape this burning house on Race Street Sunday morning.

CAMBRIDGE — At 9:21 a.m. today, Cambridge Rescue Fire Company (RFC) responded to a structure fire at the intersection of Washington and Race streets.

“Fire showing 1st and 2nd floors,” a statement from RFC said. “Units on scene, making an aggressive attack, searches underway.”

Race Street was blocked while the incident continued, with firefighters working hoses from the ground and moving to the roof by way of tower trucks. A second alarm was sounded, bringing additional departments to the response.
Juanita Darby is a member of RFC. She happened to be in the area, off duty. She spotted the blaze, and with others, went into action.

She wrote online, “Not the way we expected to start this morning, but while we were on our way to breakfast, we saw a house fire. We, Cambridge Police Department and some other people in the community stopped and pulled six kids and six adults out before the fire department had arrived. I was so focused that I didn’t see who the other people were, but my hopes are that they will see this post and know how much we all appreciate that they were willing to get involved. So many times, people will turn their head so they don’t get involved. Had they done that today, the results could have been catastrophic!! Great job by the community and all the fire departments and Dorchester County Emergency Medical Services!”

A report from Firefighter Kevin Carr later Sunday said, Engine 1-3 & Tower 1-1 arrived on location quickly from 307 Gay St, the old Fire Station, to make an aggressive attack. Command requested a second alarm assignment, bringing additional units and personnel to the scene to help extinguish this fire and handle additional alarms in the first due area.

At 11:44 a.m., with the fire extinguished, overhaul complete, and units packed, command was terminated, turning the scene over to Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office for investigation. All units were placed in service.

One firefighter was transported to the hospital for injuries received in the process of extinguishing this fire and has since been released.

Details on deployment
• Engine 1-3 (700’ of 1.75 Attack line, 300’ of 2” Attack line, 100’ of 5” Supply Line, 50’ of garden Hose & 48’ of ground ladders)
• Tower 1-1 (81’ of ground ladders & the main ladder to the roof)
• Rescue Engine 1-1 (All 4 personnel assisted with Fire Attack)
• Engine 1-4 (400’ of 1.75 Attack line, 400’ of 5” Supply Hose & 14’ of ground ladders)
• Engine 1-2 (All 5 personnel assisted with Fire Attack)
• Rescue 1-1 (All 3 personnel assisted with Fire Attack)
• Haz-mat 1-1 (Support with Cascade)
• Units were Chief 1, Engine 1-3, Tower 1-1, Rescue Engine 1-1, Engine 1-4, Engine 1-2, Rescue 1-1, Haz-mat 1, Utility 1-1
• Mutual Aid from CPD, DCEMS PM100, 101 (Cambridge), PM600 (Hurlock), Talbot Station 30 (Trappe), Station 21 (East New Market), Station 61 (Linkwook-Salem), Station 6 (Hurlock), Station 31 (Neck District), Station 16 (Secretary), Station 46 (Church Creek), Station 56 (Madison), Caroline Station 200 (Preston).

Joanie Peters wrote, “Wow! Praise God you were all there! Awesome job.”

“Thank you for your bravery and stepping up to help, as well as our first responders,” Sharon Prahl wrote. “Prayers for those pulled to safety.”

While the response was led by veterans, there was at least one rookie firefighter on the scene. “My first call as a pro-active member of Rescue,” Andrew Bradshaw wrote. “What an excellent group of people we have, giving their free time to keep our community safe.”

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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