OCEAN CITY- Potential disaster was averted Monday afternoon when a sprinkler system suppressed a fire at a downtown Boardwalk store long enough for firefighters to arrive and contain the blaze.
In a scene eerily similar to a March 2008 downtown fire that consumed the Dough Roller restaurant and threatened other historic Boardwalk buildings, dark smoke filled the crisp, October air on Monday afternoon as firefighters quickly arrived to begin containing a fire that began in the Gone Wild souvenir shop at South 1st Street. Unlike the March 2008 Boardwalk blaze, however, the sprinkler system in the vacant store suppressed the fire until a dozens of Ocean City Fire Department personnel and various pieces of equipment arrived on the scene.
Around 3:20 on Monday afternoon, employees of Trimper’s Amusements reported smelling smoke and eventually located the source of the fire in the Gone Wild store. The store, which was not open and unoccupied at the time, had the metal doors that open onto the Boardwalk closed at the time. The investigation revealed the fire started inside the store and the sprinkler system contained blaze until firefighters arrived.
According to Ocean City Police Department public affairs officer Mike Levy at the scene, when firefighters raised the metal door, smoke billowed from the store and flames were still visible. The Gone Wild store was closed and the apartments above it were not occupied and had recently been winterized.
Fire crews arrived quickly and immediately began containing the blaze to the store where it originated. Ladder trucks and crews remained on scene for at least two hours and thoroughly checked the building to ensure the fire was not smoldering in other areas. No injuries were reported and the fire was contained to the Gone Wild store where it originated.