Two Dead, Including Church Pastor in Ocean City Fire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Two Dead, Including Church Pastor in Ocean City Fire

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- A tragic, bizarre, and mysterious fire has shocked many in Ocean City. Two people are dead, after a man on fire ran into the Saint Paul's By the Sea Church, according to eyewitnesses. The man was screaming for help, according to those that saw him run inside.

One of those killed was the church's pastor, the Rev. David Dingwall. He died from injuries sustained from the fire, according to Bishop Bud Shand from the Episcopal Diocese.

There was also a second person who died in the fire, who Ocean City officials said is an adult male. A third victim, an adult female was taken to PRMC after being critically injured in the fire. She has since been taken to Johns Hopkins. Ocean City spokeswoman, Jessica Waters said the cause of the fire is still unknown.

The fire broke out at 9:25 Tuesday morning at the church, which is located on 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue. Those from the Ocean City area and beyond said this is an especially tragic fire because a religious leader was lost.  Dru Holroyd from Ocean City said she saw the flames erupt in the air Tuesday.

"The loss of the life that was in there is just tragic," she said. "It's hurtful to think about it."

Holroyd said the church and the reverend are well-known in the community for all the "good" that they do.

"He's like a role model in the community," she said about Dingwall. "Because he does a lot of work. He does a lot to help. He helps out the community a lot."

The loss of life has triggered a lot of concern from those on the peninsula. Through Facebook, various people spoke highly of the lost religious leader. Donna Sweetman Richardson said he was a kind, smart, compassionate man who will be missed tremendously." Lori L. Parteys sent prayers from New York, calling the fire "unbelievably sad."  

The town of Ocean City also responded to the loss of life saying "this is a very sad day for the Ocean City Community. It is very rare for us to see a tragedy like this, but when we do it certainly affects us all. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the family of the victims and the members of St. Paul's."

Holroyd said other churches and community groups will have to step up to try and fill the gap left behind by Dingwall's passing.

"He did do a lot for the community," she said. "The church does help out a lot of people around here especially in time of need. And they always had their door open."

Saint Peter's Lutheran Church is hosting a community prayer service for the victims of Tuesday's fire. It is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:00. That church is located on 103rd Street in Ocean City.

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