At approximately 6:45 PM on October 18, 2018, Lewes FD was alerted to a house fire in the Red Mill Farms subdivision. Nobody was reported to be home at the time of the call, and the initial alarm was called in by neighbors. Upon arrival, first responding units saw heavy smoke coming from the gables of the home, and a private citizen informed firefighters that the fire looked like it was in the basement. Initial entry into the basement was blocked by two locked exterior doors (one at grade, one below grade), so the first crew entered the B-side of the structure at ground level in an attempt to determine conditions, and if necessary, locate access to the basement that way. Upon entry, they found heavy smoke conditions, with the entire level charged with smoke and moderate heat levels. While pushing into the structure, and with zero visibility, the crew discovered that the fire had burned a hole in the floor between the basement and first floor. The fire had burned long enough to create the hole, and due to lack of oxygen, the fire had darkened down somewhat. One member of the initial entry crew fell into the hole, and was saved by another member of that crew, preventing him from falling completely into the basement.
The inital attack crew backed out immediately when the hole and the full extent of the fire was discovered. Efforts were continuing to force entry into the basement entrance to the rear of the structure. Once the two exterior doors were forced open, followed by a third, interior door, an attack on the fire could be made. The fire was quickly knocked down at that point, although the basement suffered severe heat and smoke damage.
Responding units from Lewes included Engines 82-1, 82-2, and 82-9; Ladder 82; Rescue 82; Tanker 82; Brush 82-10; Ambulance D-82; and Command 82-8. Assisting at the scene were units from Rehoboth Beach (86), Milton (85), and SCEMS. Lewes Fire Police shut down Minos Conaway Road during the fire, and units from Georgetown (77), Bethany Beach (70), and Indian River (80) provided cover-up for the stations at the scene.