by Terry Rogers
On Wednesday, October 30, three homes were severely damaged by fire with more than a dozen local fire departments responding to assist with the blaze. Residents in the community reported that the flames were so significant, it appeared as if the beach was on fire. Neighbors called in the fire when they noticed black smoke pouring from one of the homes which sat in the 200 block of the south end of the beach community.
Initially, it was reported that there were subjects trapped in the burning homes, but all residents were able to escape and there were no injuries. The Delaware State Fire Marshall’s Office announced later that day that the fire was accidental, caused by an outdoor generator that malfunctioned. Many neighbors were surprised at how quickly the three homes burned. When the flames were extinguished, it was determined that the fire caused $800,000 in damages with one home completely destroyed and the other two damaged significantly.
This is not the first major fire in Slaughter Beach in the past few years. On Christmas Eve, 2017, a fire destroyed two homes in the 300 block of the beach community, not far from where this fire caused damage. In addition, three other homes were damaged during the 2017 blaze.
During the 2019 fire, Memorial Volunteer Fire Company in Slaughter Beach reported that crews had to evacuate at one point due to a collapse on the north side of the structure. Many of the tankers were running out of water which also made it difficult to extinguish the flames. Town officials met to discuss the lack of water issue in a town that sits adjacent to the Delaware Bay.
Town leaders agree that a lack of fire hydrants in Slaughter Beach remain a problem, but the town does not have enough water pressure to allow for the addition of hydrants. Some of the plumbing in the town was used by a hotel that has since been demolished and was built in the 1930s. In order to add hydrants, the town would need to replace the entire water supply system in the town, something that would be a massive project for the small beach community.
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