Rehoboth Homeowners, Witnesses React to Destructive Fire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Homeowners, Witnesses React to Destructive Fire

Posted: Mar 13, 2018 5:12 PM Updated:

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- As Delaware state fire marshals investigate a blaze that destroyed two beach houses and damaged three others in Rehoboth Beach, some people in the area are already planning to rebuild.

"I feel bad but I also feel good that it's going to be reconstructed," says David Main, whose house was burned to the ground. "I think it'll be a chance to put up an even better house if we can."

Main was at his primary residence in Northern Virginia when he got an alert from his Sand Dune Drive home's alarm system. He said shortly thereafter he learned his home would be a total loss.

"I think everybody is just stunned that it would happen," he says.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal's office says it believes the house next to Main's is where the fire started. But the exact origin and cause have yet to be determined. Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Harry Miller says he does not believe the house where the fire started had an automatic fire alarm system or sprinklers. At the moment, deputy state fire marshals are contacting witnesses and residents as part of the investigation.

"Anybody that was here yesterday smelled any odors, anything like that, we'll gladly take any information people have to offer," he says.

One witness was Everett Wodiska, a limo driver who was driving a client home when the fire started around 3 a.m. He says he immediately called 9-1-1.

"The fire was just enormous," he recalls. "The flames were at least 60 feet up into the air. It was clear as day across the lake."

Wodiska says the strong winds made him think the fire could spread southbound, a fear shared by Rehoboth Fire Chief Chuck Snyder. 

"The houses to the south were in real grave danger," he says. "The folks that came and assisted us from Lewes and Bethany Beach set up their ladder trucks here and saved those two structures from burning down. There is damage to them, however they are still standing so that's a testament to the winds that were blowing here and what those guys had to put up with."

Snyder says cold temperatures and low water pressure from a nearby hydrant also were challenging for operations, with the latter requiring crews to pump water from Silver Like.

The State Fire Marshal's office estimates the damages to be worth around $5 million. 

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