OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) was one of many from around the state to deploy in Baltimore on Wednesday to allow the city’s fire department to mourn the loss of three of their own.
For the first time in the 225-year history of the Baltimore City Fire Department, the entire BCFD went out of service on Wednesday to honor the line-of-duty deaths of Lieutenant Paul Butrim, Lieutenant Kelsey Sadler and Firefighter/Paramedic Kenneth Lacayo, who each perished in a rowhouse fire in the city on January 24. The BCFD members responded to a rowhouse fire in the city’s Mount Claire neighborhood when dispatchers advised a person was trapped.
Butrim, Sadler and Lacayo perished when the vacant rowhouse collapsed. A fourth firefighter, John McMaster, was rescued from the building collapse and spent several days in the hospital.
The fallen firefighters were honored with a solemn service on Wednesday with a sea of firefighters and equipment filling the streets of the city and pouring into the Baltimore Convention Center for a memorial service. In order to allow Baltimore City firefighters to participate in the memorial services for their peers, the Maryland Department of Emergency Management worked with other fire departments from around the state to backfill Baltimore City with the necessary fire and EMS resources.
OCFD Fire Chief Richie Bowers approved the OCFD to send one fire engine staffed with six personnel, two EMS supervisors and command leadership to assist the BCFD on Wednesday. The OCFD also sent two firefighters and two fire marshals to the memorial service in Baltimore to represent the Town of Ocean City.
“It hurts when you hear of any sister or brother firefighter dying in the line of duty,” said Bowers on Thursday. “Ocean City firefighters and EMS providers were willing to deploy to Baltimore City to help when the request was made. Our team wanted to go, to allow the entire BCFD to mourn the loss of their own.”
The backfilling request was no small task. All types of resources from the across the state from Ocean City to western Maryland came together on Wednesday to staff more than 30 Baltimore City fire stations.
“When there is a public safety need, no matter where it is in Maryland, or any other neighboring state really, upon the request from that state, county or city, we’ll step up and help, and do our small part of a much bigger picture.”