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DEFECTIVE CIRCUIT BLAMED FOR BLAZE AT WATERMAN’S

If you are in Ocean City this week, you may notice a couple of changes as you drive down Coastal Highway. The speed limit, normally 40 mph through North Ocean City, has been reduced to 30 mph, and Downtown, the speed limit has also been reduced. This is due to the expected, unauthorized H2Oi Pop-Up Rally.  It is reasonable to expect heavier than usual traffic, noise and strict enforcement of vehicle laws during the week and weekend.

‘Everyone is safe and that’s what is most important,’owners say

                    NANCY POWELL ¦ Staff Writer

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Smoke flows from the upper floors of Waterman&rsquo;s Seafood Restaurant in West Ocean City last Friday, after an electrical failure was blamed for a fire that caused considerable damage, but no personal injury. In top photo, the apparent remnants of a crab feast can be seen beneath some debris dropped from the fire in the floor above.<br />
PHOTOS COURTESY DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL ROBERT KORB JR. Smoke flows from the upper floors of Waterman’s Seafood Restaurant in West Ocean City last Friday, after an electrical failure was blamed for a fire that caused considerable damage, but no personal injury. In top photo, the apparent remnants of a crab feast can be seen beneath some debris dropped from the fire in the floor above. PHOTOS COURTESY DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL ROBERT KORB JR. (Oct. 12, 2012) A faulty electrical circuit was the cause of a fire at Waterman’s Seafood Restaurant last Friday, according to the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office.

The restaurant, which is about a mile west of the Route 50 bridge, was serving its dinner crowd when the fire started.

Earlier, a set of lights went off downstairs and Assistant Manager Jessica Bradshaw contacted owners Jay Bergey and Jamie Davey, who told her to call an electrician.

When the seriousness of the situation was realized and people smelled smoke at about 6:45 p.m., firefighters were called.

“We tried to get everyone out,” Bradshaw said. “We were checking nooks and crannies to make sure everyone was out. By the time I got to the parking lot, the firefighters were there.”

Members of the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company were joined by members of fire companies in Berlin, Showell, Ocean Pines and Bishopville.

When they arrived, the firefighters saw flames extending from the roof of the two-and-a-half-story building. Firefighters remained on the scene for approximately four hours to suppress the fire.

Traffic on Route 50 in the area of the fire, was shut down in both directions for several hours so the firefighters could set up a water supply.

Worcester County Commissioner Bud Church went to the scene and saw that some of the restaurant’s customers were eating their food on the edge of the parking lot. They had grabbed their plates before evacuating.

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The attic level of Waterman&rsquo;s appeared to be the origin of the Oct. 5 fire, where the electrical damage that was likely the cause of the blaze can be seen. Firefighters from Ocean City, Berlin, Showell, Ocean Pines and Bishopville were on scene for four hours, with traffic on Route 50 being shut down in both directions so that water lines could be run.<br />
PHOTOS COURTESY DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL ROBERT KORB JR. The attic level of Waterman’s appeared to be the origin of the Oct. 5 fire, where the electrical damage that was likely the cause of the blaze can be seen. Firefighters from Ocean City, Berlin, Showell, Ocean Pines and Bishopville were on scene for four hours, with traffic on Route 50 being shut down in both directions so that water lines could be run. PHOTOS COURTESY DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL ROBERT KORB JR. “It was amazing to see how four or five companies could work so well as a team,” Church said. “It was as if it was a dress rehearsal. They did what had to be done and did it like the professionals they are. We are really lucky to have such a dedicated group of firemen/paramedics in our county.”

The fire remains under investigation, but the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office said the blaze originated in a second floor attic area. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Matthew Owens at 410-632-5666 or by e-mail at owens@wcfmo.org.

The restaurant’s Facebook page posted a message for friends and wellwishers one day after the fire.

“Our staff and families would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks to all of the local volunteers, fire departments, police and EMS teams who came to our aid last night,” stated the message. “We would also like to let all of our friends and loyal customers know how much your overwhelming concern and willingness to help us in any way possible is appreciated. We have a long road a head of us and the damage is extensive. Everyone is safe and that’s what is most important. We love all of you and thank you again so very much. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.”

A man in Sofia, Bulgaria, was one of the people to learn about the fire from Facebook. Emil Stoykov, who worked at Waterman’s during the summers of 2007 and 2008, wrote in an e-mail to Ocean City Today, “Like some tiny part of my heart just evaporated suddenly.”

Waterman’s, Stoykov wrote, was his “favorite place in the United States of America. Some people might laugh or wonder but I can say – the people working there are fantastic, the way they treat customers is sometimes just an amazing adventure with smiles and tons of jokes and on top of it you got top notch food with just a fabulous cuisine.”

 

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