News & announcements

Snow Hill House Fire

The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office has investigated a residential house fire which occurred at 309 Purnell Street in Snow Hill on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at approximately 2:30PM. Arriving firefighters were met with heavy smoke and flames visible from the exterior of the structure. Volunteer Fire Companies from Snow Hill, Pocomoke, Stockton, Girdletree and Newark responded on the initial Residential Box Alarm. The Berlin Volunteer Fire Company was cancelled enroute. The house was occupied at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported. The house suffered heavy fire damage. Firefighters remained on the scene for two hours. The home was owned and occupied by Virginia Truitt. The cause of the fire is listed as accidental and blamed on the improper use of a heat source (electric baseboard heat).

(Photo: Courtesy Snow Hill Vol. Fire Co.)

Ocean Pines Residential House Fire

The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating a fire which was reported on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 1306 Ocean Parkway in Ocean Pines. The Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department was alerted to a report of the fire at approximately 6:30PM. Upon the arrival of the fire department the fire was extinguished. The fire was contained to a bedroom with smoke damaged throughout the house. No injuries were reported. The house was owned and occupied by Christian Anthony. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy Fire Marshals Christoper Vieira or Rob Korb at 410.632.5666 or cvieira@co.worcester.md.us

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly than at any other time of the year. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day doubles more than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. Property loss during a holiday season from fire is 34% greater than in an average, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. Christmas tree fires make the property damage even higher

Here are some holiday fire safety tips:


Cooking is the top cause of holiday fires. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. Make sure to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires, and check that smoke detectors are working.

If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.


The incidence of candle fires is four times higher during the Winter months. According to NFPA, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve.

To reduce the danger, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out.

https://youtu.be/xr6b9b8FYKk (CLICK THIS LINK FOR VIDEO)

It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames,

To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator, and out of traffic patterns. If you’re using live garlands and other greenery, keep them at least three feet away from heating sources. No matter how well the tree is watered, it will start to dry out after about four weeks, Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.


Inspect light strings, and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip.

When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers.


The number of blazes, and, tragically, the number of deaths caused by children playing with fire goes up significantly during the holidays. The United State Fire Administration reports January through March, 13% of fire deaths are the result of children playing with fire, in December, that percentage doubles. So keep matches and lighters out of kids’ reach. “


Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.

When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.

Following these fire safety tips will help ensure your family and loved ones have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Snow Hill Out-buildings Fire

The Worcester County Fire Marshal's Office has investigated a fire which cause heavy damage to two out-buildings (Sheds) at 4828 Paw Paw Creek Road in Snow Hill.  Arriving firefighters found heavy fire extending from the two sheds.  The fires were quickly extinguished.  No injuries were reported with the fire.  Fire Companines from Snow Hill, Girdletree, Newark and Stockton responded to the 5:55PM fire.  The cause of the fire is listed as accidental and blamed an electrical cords used between the two sheds.  Contact Deputy Rob Korb at 410.632.5666 or rkorb@co.worcester.md.us with questions.

Chimney Fire Causes Structural Damage In Berlin Fire

The Berlin Volunteer Fire Company was alerted for a chimney fire at 6:46PM on November 20, 2016 at 11505 Quillin Way. Prior to arrival the alarm was upgrade to smoke in the building which activated the County's Box Alarm system with a response from Ocean City and Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Companies. Fire damage was minimal and contained to the "Chimney Chase". There was smoke damage inside the residence. No injuries were reported in the fire and cause of the fire is listed as accidental. Contact Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Matthew Owens for further information.

Delmarva Power Donates Smoke Alarms

County Fire Marshal Jeff McMahon was among other Fire Officials from the upper and lower Eastern Shore of Maryland who attended a meeting where Delmarva Power donated smoke alarms to the local Fire Service. DPL donated 1,500 smoke alarms to the area, in which Worcester County received 120 and Ocean City received 50. The smoke alarm donation program is an annual event where DPL donates the smoke alarms and the local fire authorities along with the State Fire Marshal's Office coordinate the program.