OCEAN PINES – One man died and three firefighters were injured this week in a house fire in Ocean Pines.
At around 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department (OPVFD) was alerted to a residential structure fire on Seafarer Lane in north Ocean Pines. Responding units reported significant fire conditions throughout the home with a possible subject trapped inside.
Additional assistance was requested from Ocean City, Showell, Berlin, Bishopville, Selbyville, Roxana, Frankford and Dagsboro fire departments, and crews remained on the scene for roughly four-and-a-half hours, according to OPVFD Public Information Officer Joe Enste.
After deteriorating conditions improved, crews ultimately brought the fire under control and located an adult male victim inside the home. The victim has been identified as 62-year-old Timothy Jay Cooper of Ocean Pines.
“The victim unfortunately succumbed to their injuries as a result of the fire,” a statement from the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office reads. “Three firefighters were also injured battling the fire but only one required transport to a local hospital for a hand injury.”
A joint investigation was conducted by the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Ocean Pines Police Department. Investigators were assisted by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office K9 Unit and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The exact cause of the fire is considered undetermined, officials say, though it is believed the fire originated in the laundry room area of the home. Smoke alarms were present at the time of the fire.
“After a tragic event such as this, we cannot stress enough the important of having working smoke alarms in your homes,” Enste said. “We firmly believe that you should have smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month using the test button and replaced once they reach 10 years old.”
He continued, “Additionally, we encourage families to make a home escape plan. Draw a map of each level of your home. Show all doors and windows. Go to each room and point to the two ways out. Practice the plan with everyone in your household. Doing these simple things can make all the difference during an emergency.”
The OCVFD also recognized responding agencies for their assistance during Tuesday’s fatal house fire. Enste added the fire department, in collaboration with the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office, will conduct a “After The Fire Neighborhood Canvass” on Feb. 25, beginning at 11 a.m.
“Our goal of the canvass is to help answer questions that neighbors have and provide fire safety tips/advice if we can,” he said. “We will also have smoke alarms to pass out for those that need them.”
According to a Facebook post, Cooper worked as a seasonal maintenance employee at Assateague Island National Seashore, where flags were lowered this week in remembrance.