Fire marshal says burning debris ignited old chicken coop

ROCK HALL — Investigators have determined that Friday’s outbuilding fire near here was accidental, as burning debris ignited a 14×20-foot old chicken coop.

The fire was brought under control in 20 minutes, according to a news release from the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

The value of the damage was estimated to be $20,000.

No injuries were reported.

The alarm sounded just before 9:30 a.m. on June 28 for a structure fire in the 22000-block of McKinleyville Road in Piney Neck, near the Rock Hall Yacht Club.

Betterton Volunteer Fire Company’s Tanker 5, which was in the neighborhood filling a swimming pool, was the first unit on the scene. Firefighters found an old chicken coop “100% involved with fire,” and the fire had extended to and began to involve a nearby two-story barn, according to a post on the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company’s Facebook page.

Tanker 5 concentrated its initial firefighting efforts to protect and stop the fire impinging on the barn.

Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company Engine-Tanker 7 arrived soon after and started active firefighting operations.

Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company also responded with Rescue-Engine 6 and Tanker 6.

Rescue-Engine 6 dropped 500 feet of supply hose up the lane to establish a water supply for Engine-Tanker 7, Tanker 5 and Rescue-Engine 6, and Engine 6 established a draft site on Langford Bay, near the yacht club, according to social media posts by the Rock Hall and Chestertown fire companies.

Companies and agencies dispatched, responding and on-scene included: Betterton, Rock Hall, Chestertown, Kennedyville and Galena fire companies from Kent County; Church Hill, Crumpton and Sudlersville fire companies from Queen Anne’s County; Cecilton Volunteer Fire Company; Kent-Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad; Kent County EMS; Delmarva Power; and the Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

The property owner, identified as William Marshall, discovered the fire, according to investigators.

The fire marshal’s preliminary report states, “The homeowner was burning weeds with a propane torch, and subsequently, the burning debris ignited the chicken coop.”

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