A three-story home on the corner of Morningside Road and Beach Road was decimated by a Sunday afternoon fire that damaged a neighboring house and that hospitalized one firefighter due to heat related injuries, according to Deputy Chief Mark McCulley of the Ocean City Fire Department.
Capt. Gary Green was treated and released after overheating and showing signs of high blood pressure while fighting the blaze, according to acting Fire Chief Charles Bowman.
When the firefighters first arrived at the residence at about 3:45 p.m., the fire was already tearing through the second floor of the home, but because two neighboring houses were exposed to damage and because of strong northeast winds, the firefighters focused on first protecting those properties, McCulley said.
"Upon arrival, it was going pretty good," Bowman said.
By 4:30 p.m., the fire was mostly under control, but damage could be seen throughout the entire structure of the house. Although some of the first floor is still intact, the house appears to be a total loss, according to McCulley.
No residents were home at the time of the fire. Residents of neighboring properties were evacuated.
Property tax records from 2011 list George A. Stohner and Brendan Burnett, of Indianapolis, IN, as the owners of the property, which is assessed at $2.6 million.
Firefighters from all three Ocean City fire stations responded, and stations in Marmora and Somers Point provided backup coverage.
Onlookers could be seen on Morningside Road, on the beach opposite of the house, and down side streets watching the blaze at the stately and classic beach-block home.
Cape May County, Ocean City Police Department and Ocean City Fire Department personnel are investigating the cause of the fire but are not expected to make a determination for a couple of days.