Mostly smoke in college dorm kitchen fire

CHESTERTOWN — Unattended cooking in a dorm kitchen appears to be the cause of what was dispatched as a structure fire Tuesday night, April 30 at Washington College.

No injuries were reported.

The call went out at 9:03 p.m. for a fire at Sassafras residence hall.

According to a post on the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company Facebook page, the 911 caller reported smoke coming from a room on the second floor. The college’s Department of Public Safety already was working to clear the building of students.

Kent-Queen Anne’s Rescue Squad personnel, who were the first on the scene, found an “elevated smoke condition” in the second-floor hallway. After further investigation they located the source of the fire in a common kitchen area, where they found a burning saucepan on the top of a kitchen range, according to the Chestertown VFC Facebook post.

Rescue squad personnel extinguished the fire.

The first crew of firefighters from Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company entered the building to check for extension (spread) into the wall, using a thermal imaging camera. None was discovered.

Firefighters’ attention turned to smoke removal from the building, which they described as “problematic.”

The Facebook post states, “While the windows in the dorm rooms can open, all the windows in the public areas were of a sealed design and unable to be opened. We set up a relay system of multiple high velocity smoke fans to move the smoke down the hallway to the stairwell. The smoke was then moved through the stairwell and ultimately to the outside.”

It took about 30 minutes to clear the residual smoke lingering on the second floor.

The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal was notified, but did not respond.

The fire was not considered suspicious, according to the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company’s social media post.


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