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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Structure Fire - Windswept Condos


Firefighter Rehab Operations

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Investigation & Evaluation Phase

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Indian River's Engine #80-3

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Investigation & Evaluation Phase

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Oxygen Bottle Refilling Station

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Lewes Firefighter Reynolds in Rehab

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Firefighter Rehab

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Dick Ward rehydrates

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Firefighter Rehab Operations

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Ladder 80

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Roxana Rehab Center - Rehab 90

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Millsboro Fire Company

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Rehab 90

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Lewes Fire Dept. - Hydrant Operations

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MIllsboro Fire Co., Inc.

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Ventiliation Operations

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Investigation Operations

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Ventilation Phase

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Investigation and Evaluation Phase

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Wednesday June, 23 2010 @ 05:08:32

Nature: Structure Fire

Address: 33558 Windswept Dr Millsboro, DE 19966

Early Wednesday, June 23rd at approximately 5:08 a.m., the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company was alerted for a structure fire at the Windswept Complex in “The Peninsula.” This complex is the frequently visited as the result of automatic fire alarms (AFA); however, this incident was not an automatic alarm episode. It was reported to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, that the alarm company was notified of a malfunctioning alarm instance and responded to the location.

Upon arrival, the alarm company identified a water flow situation, as well as a light smoke condition within the north western section of the residential complex. The alarm technician immediately notified 911 and manually activated the fire alarm system.

Engine #80-3 arrived on scene and reported a light smoke conditions, visible alarms, and visual confirmation of water flow. Ladder 80 arrived immediately; thereafter, with the incident being upgraded to a working structure fire alarm. This additional alarm status required dispatching of the Millsboro (Station #83); Lewes (Station #82); Rehoboth (Station #86); the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office; the Sussex County Paramedics and the Delaware State Fire Police. The Delaware State Police were also on-scene during the initial phases of the incident.

During the mitigation phase of the incident, the following companies were ultimately dispatched to the scene location: Dagsboro, (Station #73); Frankford (Station #76); Georgetown (Station #77); Milton (Station #85); and Roxana Rehab Unit (Station #90). Additional cover up assignments was requested from the Gumboro (Station #79) and Memorial (Station #89) for the fire district of Indian River.

This incident posed significant operational concerns because of the excessive water flow concerns saturating and weakening the floor structures on Level #2 and Level #3 causing the ceilings on Level #1 and Level #2 to collapse. The high humidity and excessive high summer heat temperatures were hard on the firefighters and resulted in additional rehabilitation and hydration measures to be implemented during the incident.

Overall, three (3) firefighters and other civilian s were transported to nearby medical facilities for observations and evaluations. These actions required multiple ambulances and the Sussex County Paramedics to be vigilant with respect to firefighter body temperatures, blood pressures, etc.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal is investigating the incident.

Additional information will be published as it is made available. You may review the following websites to identify potential information regarding this incident:

(1) WGMD 92. Radio website  and

(2) Delaware Wave Newspaper and website:

(3) The News-Journal Newspaper and website:

Long Neck area condo fire leaves two responders injured BY WALLACE MCKELVEY


An early morning fire today at an apartment-style condominium near Long Neck left two firefighters with heat-related injuries, officials said.

Patrick Miller, president of the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, said his department responded to an alarm at The Peninsula in the 33000 building on Windswept Drive at 5:08 a.m. Light smoke emanated from the walls and ceilings of the condominium but did not originate from the rooms, he said.

“They don’t really know the origin as of yet, but it appears deep-seated in the walls and floor joists,” he said.

As a result of the sheer mass of water released from the building’s sprinkler system, Miller said the first-floor ceiling collapsed before the fire could be contained.

Two firefighters were transported to local hospitals with heat-related injuries. Firefighters from Georgetown, Lewes, Millsboro, Milton, Rehoboth Beach and Roxana also responded to the fire.

(4) The News-Journal -

(5) Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Co., Inc. Website

(6) Sussex Countian Newspaper –

Lightning strike causes Peninsula fire

The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated a three story, eleven unit condominium complex fire that occurred on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 5:08 AM in the Peninsula on the 33000 block of Windswept Drive in Millsboro, Delaware.

Damages have been estimated at approximately $250,000.

State Fire Marshal Investigators have determined that the fire originated in the ceiling area of the garage and was caused by a lightning strike.

(7) Dagsboro Fire Company website:

Update:  12/07/2013....

Owner wins in court battle with Dover condominium association

Board claimed shower leak, but lost in court

It’s a classic story: Lightning sparks a fire in a condo building. During the cleanup, the condo association deduces a second story unit’s shower has been leaking so much it soaked and damaged the floor. So the condo association sends that unit’s owner a $154,000 repair bill he didn’t expect.

But there’s a twist. The recipient of the eye-popping bill, Robert Schumm, refused to pay it, saying the condo association had no evidence his shower at the Dover condominium complex was leaking water. When the association sued him over the nonpayment, Schrumm argued his case in court – and won.

Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes ruled Nov. 20 that The Council of Unit Owners of Windswept Condo Association, which had sued Schumm, “failed to provide any record evidence or causation testimony of an alleged leak in Schumm’s unit.” The physical evidence described in depositions, Schumm said, showed water damage to the subflooring in Schumm’s unit’s kitchen and dining room, but not the room containing the shower.

“The physical facts of this case are so clear that they ultimately contradict the Council’s theory on causation,” Stokes wrote in his decision.

The decision allows Schumm to bill the condo association for his attorney’s fees. “He was very helpful to us in defending him,” said Benjamin C. Wetzel III, one of two attorneys who represented Schumm in the suit.

The fire in question happened on June 23, 2010, in the early-morning hours. A thunderstorm ignited the fire, but officials said at the time residents didn’t notice the blaze right away, seeing smoke a few hours later. The fire left several units in an 11-unit building exposed to the elements, so the condo association quickly sought contractors for the repairs. In the years since, all of the damage has been fixed.

Schumm’s unit shared a floor and walls with two of the heavily damaged condos, and all of them had been doused by firefighters’ hoses. Restorers, in early 2011, noticed water damage to the subfloor of Schumm’s unit, and they recommended testing its pipes for leaks. They found the water supply lines and drain pipes in good condition.

Then the contractor, Royal Plus, told the condo association it observed a hairline crack in Schumm’s shower pan, although only filling the pan to the brim would lead to apparent leaking during a test – merely running water through the showerhead produced no leak.

The condo association filed an insurance claim for the repair work to Schumm’s unit and the unit below his, which totaled $154,832. But the claim was denied under a clause excluding payment for damages that occur over two weeks or more. Soon after, Schumm opened his mail to find the hefty bill.

In the ensuing legal action, Schumm filed for summary judgment after both sides took depositions and filed briefs. He argued the association had failed to clear the bar necessary to prove pipes or fixtures in his unit had ever leaked water.

Instead, he contended, the damage “was likely caused by the excessive amount of water used to suppress the fire in June 2010.”

Stokes granted the summary judgment, which defendants in civil suits often ask for but rarely win. During cross-examination in depositions, Stokes noted, the condo association’s own expert witnesses acknowledged they saw no evidence of water leaks in the subfloor directly under Schumm’s shower.

In that room, “there was no evidence of water stains,” Stokes said. “The Council’s own expert accepts the proposition that if there was no staining, then there was no leak.”

Victoria K. Petrone, who represented the condo association’s council of owners, said the association hasn’t made a decision about whether to appeal the ruling.