Probe Finds No Foul Play In Angler Fire

OCEAN CITY — It’s uncertain if the cause of a fire at a historic downtown bayfront restaurant will ever be specifically determined, but foul play has been ruled out.

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Halloween night, a fire broke out at the historic Angler on Talbot Street. The night manager of the neighboring Talbot Inn heard an explosion and saw flames coming from the back of the Angler on the parking lot side.

Fire crews arrived and found a working fire at the exterior of the historic restaurant. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and an extensive overhaul was conducted at the site of the blaze.

One civilian sustained minor injuries that did not require transport to the hospital. The fire occurred on a Sunday night, Halloween night, the day after the Angler celebrated its final day of the season a day before on Saturday. Because of the time of night, the outcome could have been different if the fire occurred a day earlier.

In the weeks since, the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office has investigated the cause of the fire. Ocean City Fire Marshal Josh Bunting said this week because of the destruction to the exterior of the restaurant in the area of the blaze, it was challenging to determine the exact cause, but it appears arson has been ruled out.

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“Due to the level of damage and involved electrical equipment, we can’t conclude with absolute certainty the specific cause of the fire, but definitely can’t rule out an electrical malfunction or other issue,” he said. “There was no evidence of foul play or criminal intent revealed during the investigation.”

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.