West OC Fire Closes Mad Fish For Now

West OC Fire Closes Mad Fish For Now
The Ocean City Fire Department is pictured battling the three-alarm fire at the Mad Fish restaurant last Friday morning. Photo by Campos Media

WEST OCEAN CITY — An early morning fire last Friday that severely damaged a popular restaurant is still under investigation this week.

Around 4:30 a.m. last Friday, a fire broke out at the Mad Fish restaurant along the commercial harbor in West Ocean City. The start of the blaze was characterized as more of an explosion, or loud pop, according to several witnesses in the area.

First-arriving firefighters reported fire showing from the roof area on the east side of the waterfront restaurant. A total of nine fire companies from Worcester and neighboring Sussex County in Delaware responded to the fire, which took over an hour to bring under control. The building was not occupied at the time and no injuries were reported.

The fire damage appears to be limited to the easternmost portion of the waterfront restaurant, although there is likely smoke and water damage. In a prepared statement, Mad Fish owners and operators reported due to the damage, the restaurant will be closed indefinitely.

“In the very early hours of Aug. 2, emergency personnel were called to Mad Fish due to a fire generated by currently unknown causes,” the statement reads. “It is with great sadness that we share this news and report that due to the extent of the damage, Mad Fish will be closed until further notice.”

In the statement, Mad Fish thanked first responders and their loyal staff and patrons and vowed to make a swift return.

“We would like to thank the firefighters and emergency personnel who swiftly responded to this emergency,” the statement reads. “We would also like to thank all of our staff for their hard work over the last year in making Mad Fish an up-and-coming success in Ocean City. We are so grateful for those who supported Mad Fish early on in this new venture. We will be back and stronger than ever.”

In true Ocean City fashion, almost immediately after the fire, the resort’s restaurant and hospitality community rallied and offered positions for the many Mad Fish employees displaced by the fire. Anecdotally, many of those employees have been hired by other establishments for the remainder of the summer season and beyond.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire and the probe was ongoing this week. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Matt Owens at 410-632-5666, ext. 2, or mowens@co.worcester.md.us.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.