ROYAL OAK — Rain and snow mixed to make for a muddy night as all of Talbot County’s Fire Departments responded to a two alarm blaze at 24378 Deep Neck Road on the outskirts of Royal Oak. A total of 73 firefighters responded to the call.
Water was the big challenge. Two water tankers were brought in to the property. And they were pumping water out of the river in front of the waterfront estate. Smoke billowed into the sky that was filled all the red and blue lights from the trucks. There were thick hoses everywhere in the snowy mud to supply water.
Phil Jones, chief of the St. Michaels Fire Department said, “How the fire started is unknown at this time. We are going to let the fire marshal conduct his investigation. We arrived on the scene and had collapse of the center of the house. With fire extending to the left of the structure and also on the right side including the garage. It looked like most of the house was destroyed except for the pool out back.”
The St. Michaels Fire Department website said, “Defensive operations were used as most of the structure had or was collapsing on arrival, fire attack relied on water from both a tanker shuttle to the Bellevue Dock and Boat 70 from (Tilghman) to fight this fire in a secluded area. Units operated until around midnight in snow, sleet and temperatures just above freezing. Damages were estimated at $4.5 million for structure and contents.”
The dwelling was described as a two and one half-story, 5,500-square-foot, single-family home. The owners Scott Fassbach and Carolyn Cassey, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal. There were no injuries or deaths reported from the fire which was first spotted by passerby.
Jones noted the manpower present. “Cambridge is on scene and all of Talbot County. Tilghman is here. Boat 70 is supplying us with water and then we are also running a tanker shuttle to Bellevue Wharf for drafting operations. Water was a big issue it was a very large house. Water is always an issue out in rural areas. That is why we utilize our boats and our tanker shuttles.”
He said they were dispatched at 6:24 pm.
A neighbor said, “It was an enormous fire. The biggest he had ever seen,” he told The Star Democrat.
One fire truck with a long blue lit ladder poured water down onto the flames from above. There was a two story chimney that collapsed and crashed into this fire truck. No one was hurt, although there were 40 firefighters within 100 feet of the crash. The truck sustained scratches.
The fire and its cause are under investigation.