Fatal Shed Fire Caused By Heating Appliance

Fatal Shed Fire Caused By Heating Appliance
The fire scene on Monday is pictured. Photo courtesy of OCFD

WEST OCEAN CITY — The cause of a fatal fire in West Ocean City late Monday night has been determined to be accidental and caused by a heating appliance placed too close to combustibles.

Around 10:50 p.m. on Monday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy patrolling in the area of Elm Street in West Ocean City observed smoke and fire coming from a shed at the rear of the property at 9961 Elm Street. The Ocean City Fire Department and the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the fire.

After firefighters notified the occupants of the nearby residential property, it was learned an adult male was living in the shed. As crews entered the smoke-filled structure, they found a male victim deceased. The identity of the male victim is being withheld pending positive identification by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI).

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office and WCBI have determined the cause of the fire was accidental and caused by a heating appliance located too close to combustibles. No smoke alarms were present in the structure. Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeffrey McMahon is reminding the public to give space heaters space, follow all manufacturer’s instructions on a safe distance from things that can burn and to always have a working smoke alarm in all sleeping areas.

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.