Fire destroys Deltaville home
by Tom Chillemi
The cause is unknown for a fire that heavily damaged an old farmhouse on Fishing Bay Road in Deltaville on the morning of Saturday, December 8, said Jimmy Walden, chief of the Lower Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department (LMVFD) of Deltaville.
Firefighters brought equipment from five volunteer fire departments to battle the blaze that damaged the 2-story weekend home that was unoccupied. It took more than 4 hours to bring the raging inferno under control, said Walden.
About 9 a.m., a passerby reported the fire at the residence that was about 3,700 square feet in size. The house is on Jackson Creek, about 200 yards from Ruark’s Marina.
Fire and heavy smoke were visible when firefighters arrived at the scene. The old wooden structure had “balloon” construction; so the walls had no horizontal “fire stops” between the studs. With no obstructions to stop the flames, the fire quickly went up the first floor walls, came out into the second floor and went into the attic, Walden explained.
He called for assistance from the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department of Urbanna, which sent three trucks. Walden then called for firefighters and equipment from Mathews, which responded.
The Hartfield Volunteer Fire Department had responded on the initial call with most of its equipment, leaving just a pumper and a crash truck at the Hartfield Firehouse.
Walden asked the Upper Middlesex Volunteer Fire Department in Water View to be on standby to handle emergencies in the rest of the county. Firefighters also stood by at the Urbanna Firehouse with a truck just in case it was needed.
LMVFD’s ladder truck was used to spray water on the fire and to cut 4-foot holes in two or three places in the metal roof to let built-up heat escape.
After about 2.5 hours, Walden called for assistance from the Gloucester Volunteer Fire Department, which sent eight men and a truck to relieve interior firefighters, who had been entering and exiting the building all morning.
Fortunately, the nearest house to the fire was about 200 feet away so there was no other damage.
State Police arson investigators were called to the scene, which is fairly routine for fires in unoccupied houses, said Walden. Investigators searched the scene on Saturday looking for the cause, said Walden, who added the fire did not appear to be suspicious.