Relief efforts begin just hours after fire engulfs 37th Street condo units
NANCY POWELL ¦ Staff Writer
As Ocean City firefighters shoot water from a tower, the sun behind the volumes of black smoke lights up the sky to a point where it is difficult to distinguish flames that engulfed a unit at the Bradley on the Bay condominium at 37th Street Wednesday night. PHOTO COURTESY DEE SHANNON-DOBSON (Sept. 28, 2012) Area residents started coming together in a relief effort less than 24 hours after a fire destroyed several units of a bayside condominium Wednesday.
Three to six families were reportedly displaced by the fire at Bradley on the Bay, a condominium complex at 37th Street, that started at about 5:30 p.m. All lived in units on the top floor of the threestory building and some were at home at the time of the fire, said Ryan Whittington, spokesman for the Ocean City Fire Department.
The Red Cross provided hotel accommodations for some of the victims; others stayed with relatives or friends.
Firefighters from several fire companies battled the blaze and members of the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office were at the site Thursday to conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire.
Fire crews battle the blaze Wednesday from the south side of the Bradley on the Bay condominium building. OCEAN CITY TODAY/BRANDI MELLINGER Monica Hanshaw of Ocean Pines said she believes five of her co-workers at Fager’s Island were displaced by the fire and she quickly decided to help by raising funds and gathering needed items.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this,” she said Thursday. “Hopefully, we can get this started.”
Hanshaw created a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BradleyOnTheBayCondoFireReliefFund, to publicize the need for donations, financial and otherwise, and to keep people updated on the situation.
When she learns what sizes of clothing and other items are needed, she will put that information on the Facebook page, she said.
Firefighters from Ocean City, Berlin, Showell, Ocean Pines and Bethany Beach, Del., battle the blaze at Bradley on the Bay condominium building for approximately four and a half hours Wednesday evening. Nine units received heavy fire damage and other units sustained heavy water damage. Both adjacent buildings received exterior heat damage. One firefighter received minor burns and was treated at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin. OCEAN CITY TODAY/ZACK HOOPES She learned she needed a tax identification number and someone was assisting her with that so she could set up a PayPal page for financial contributions. She also planned to set up a bank account at the Bank of Ocean City so people could donate there.
Fager’s Island became a drop-off site for donations and so did two places in Delaware, Weller’s Utility Trailers in Bridgeville and Weller’s Clearance Center in Ellendale.
One of the first to help was reportedly Danny Martin, resident of the nearby Thunder Island condominium, who noticed that the fire alarm at Bradley on the Bay appeared not to be sounding although he saw smoke. Martin went across the parking lot and manually pulled the alarm, and then began going door-to-door to make sure residents had left. His mother ran behind him with leashes in order to evacuate pets.
Built in 1984, Bradley on the Bay contains nine buildings with 135 one- and two-bedroom units. It was named for Bradley Caine, daughter of its developer, Jim Caine.
Several sources, who did not wish to be named in print, alleged that Bradley on the Bay was constructed using the “stack shack” method of pre-fabricated homes, in which each floor is brought in on a flatbed truck and hoisted onto the story below it. Such manufactured homes did not feature the firewall protection that on-site builds have, a possible explanation as to why the fire seemed to spread so quickly through the entire top floor.
Whittington said other variables, such as wind, are also responsible for the speed at which a fire spreads.