OCEAN CITY — Ocean City firefighters and first responders got a sincere thank you last week from the owners of a north-end condominium for their quick action under trying circumstances during a massive fire in January.
Around mid-day on January 13, Ocean City firefighters along with personnel from the OCPD and the Public Works department responded to the Pelican Beach condominium on the beach between 139th and 140th streets after several citizens reported a structure fire with heavy black smoke seen from miles away. By the time first responders arrived, the fire had spread to the dune area on the east side of the property and the sounds of explosions were heard coming from the first-floor parking garage.
The investigation revealed a generator in the back of a work truck had exploded, setting fire to the building. With the swirling winds, the fire spread quickly and the entire east side of the condo was engulfed. The fire was brought under control in about an hour although frigid temperatures and gusty winds created challenges. The building suffered significant damage to its exterior as well as the interior of two of the 28 units, although it appeared initially to be much worse.
On Monday, Mayor Rick Meehan shared a letter from the condo’s board of directors thanking the city and its first responders for their quick action in putting out the massive blaze and minimizing the damage.
“I am writing on behalf of the Pelican Beach Condominium Board of Directors and the owners of the 28 units there to congratulate you and Chief Chris Larmore on the performance of the brave firefighters and responders who extinguished the Jan. 13 fire at the Pelican Beach Condominium,” the letter reads. “I was not there to witness the fire, but the extensive photo and video coverage of the incident tells a compelling story of windy conditions on Jan. 13 that made matters difficult and dangerous for the firefighters. Nevertheless, they were able to bring the fire under control quickly, and as a result, the property damages and losses were significantly less than otherwise might have occurred. … We are grateful for the heroic professionals who came to work that day and did their jobs with resolve and dedication to the benefit of our small condominium community,” the letter reads. “I trust you will share this letter with those who played a role that day and honor their contributions. Thank you all very, very much.”
For his part, Meehan said the letter reflected the community’s feelings about its first responders.
“This happens time and time again in our community,” he said. “I was up there that day and the situation developed rapidly and it could have been much worse.”