WEST OCEAN CITY — A midday fire at a West Ocean City motel was quickly brought under control on Monday but gridlocked traffic all along the Route 50 corridor and the main access to the resort.
Around 12:40 p.m. on Monday, a fire was reported at the Bed Time Inn on Route 50 in West Ocean City. The Ocean City Fire Department responded, as did the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company to provide mutual assistance. First-arriving units reported black smoke extending from the north end a single-story motel building. Upon further investigation, responding units reported fire extending from one of the hotel units with fire and smoke extending through an adjoining attic area.
The fire was brought under control quickly and less than a half an hour later, only smoke could be seen drifting from the roof of one of the older sections that runs perpendicular to Route 50. Some firefighters were seen on the roof of the building with axes, picks and chainsaws, cutting holes in the structure presumably to ensure the blaze was out completely and to allow the smoke to dissipate.
A Berlin firefighter on the scene said the fire started in the attic area of the old section of the motel and the source is believed to have been a faulty washer or dryer. However, that has not been confirmed and the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office has listed the cause of the fire as undetermined and the investigation was ongoing later this week.
The fire originated in unit 143 and the fire damage was contained to the unit of origin although smoke and water damage occurred in other parts of the facility. One person was treated at the scene and released with minor injuries, according to the Ocean City Fire Department release. Ocean City Fire Chief Chris Larmore praised his crews for their quick response.
“We responded to the scene and were able to contain the fire very quickly,” he said. “The members of the OCFD did a great job acting promptly and professionally to prevent this incident from escalating.”
The fire caused the motel’s occupants to be evacuated and many were seen wandering in the parking lot or sitting on the curb watching the firefighters. The fire snarled midday traffic in the West Ocean City area as Route 50 was blocked east of Keyser Point Rd. Police and fire crews were directing beach-bound traffic toward Route 707 and then east to Route 611.
As an interesting aside, one family of five in a mini-van with Pennsylvania tags in a pharmacy parking lot asked how to get to the beach. The driver said the family had driven nearly eight hours to get to Ocean City and got caught in the massive traffic jam with several detours just about a mile from their final destination.