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Monday, May 20, 2024


Vinyl Siding Made for ‘Impressive’ Ocean City Fire

Ocean City Fire Department Facebook Photo
Ocean City Fire Chief James Smith said burning vinyl siding makes for a more impressive fire than the burning wood underneath. Firefighters were on the scene in three minutes and had the fire under control in about 40 minutes.

By Christopher South

OCEAN CITY – Three Ocean City residents were displaced by a fire that occurred Monday afternoon in the 1400 block of Simpson Avenue.

According to a press release issued by the city on Monday, April 15, the Ocean City Fire Department received a 911 call at 4:46 p.m. and was on the scene in three minutes. Upon arrival, the firefighters, including mutual aid from the Marmora Volunteer Fire Company and the Margate Fire Department encountered a large fire on the second floor of the up-and-down duplex structure. Firefighters were able to establish hose lines that prevented the fire from spreading before it was finally “under control at 5:26 p.m. Fire crews remained on the scene until 8:50 p.m. to perform a fire watch.

According to the release, no civilians were injured and one firefighter sustained a minor injury. Ocean City Fire Chief James Smith said the injury was a minor sprain that did not require medical attention.

Smith said to his knowledge, both units were second homes and not the primary residence of either family. One person was home on the first floor at the time of the fire. Smith said the first floor sustained extensive water damage.

The fire is under investigation by the Ocean City Fire Department Investigation Unit, Ocean City Police Department, and the New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s office. Smith said there was no barbeque grill on the second-floor deck, as some had speculated on social media. He said while the cause of the fire is undetermined, the wind aided the fire.

“The firefighters smartly used a master stream to quickly knock down the exterior fire while they were stretching their fire hose up the exterior stairs and into the unit. This master stream, while extremely effective suppressing fire, wreaks havoc for the investigators as its power and force can remove any evidence that may assist in their investigation.,” Smith said in an email response to the Herald on Tuesday, April 16.

Firefighters got Monday’s fire in the 1400 block of Simpson Avenue under control quickly, avoiding significant damage to neighboring properties.

Smith said any wicker furniture and foam padding on the deck would have helped fuel the fire’s growth.

“Once the vinyl siding started to melt it added to the heat generation, which then exposed the wood framing, which burns at a lower temperature than the vinyl products. It makes for an impressive looking fire, which was present yesterday,” he said.


Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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