State Fire Marshal News Briefs

Two Alarm Fire Destroys Saw Mill

Deputy State Fire Marshals investigated the cause of a two alarm fire at the Goad Saw Mill located at 5957 Brandywine Road in Hughesville.

The June 6 1:12 p.m. accidental blaze originated near the electric motor attached to the saw. Employees operating the equipment at the time of the incident observed a large flame come from the motor and quickly shut down the operation and attempted to extinguish the flames. The fire quickly grew out of control and staff evacuated the area. Over 100 firefighters responded from Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s and Prince Georges Counties and gained control of the blaze within approximately two hours.

The saw mill and three trailers located on the property were heavily damaged as result of the blaze. Damage estimates are in excess of one million dollars. No injuries were reported during the incident.

Arson at Storage Unit Leads to Arrest

Around 12:35 am on June 23, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office was requested to respond for a fire at Affordable Mini Storage off of 72 Industrial Park Drive in Waldorf, Charles County. An investigation was conducted and lead to the arrest of 43 year old, Michael Demauro of College Point, New York.

The Waldorf and La Plata Volunteer Fire Departments were alerted to respond to a fire involving a mobile motor home at the Affordable Mini Storage. Approximately 20 firefighters responded and extinguished the fire within 5 minutes. The Charles County Sheriff's Office was also alerted to the incident for a possible assault. The Sheriff's Office determined an assault occurred prior to the intentional setting of the fire, and detained Demauro. Further investigation revealed, Demauro intentionally set the mobile motor home on fire inside of the storage facility. Demauro was transported to the Charles County Detention Center by the Charles County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office charged Demauro with Assault, Second Degree. Upon the completion of the fire investigation, State Fire Marshal's charged Demauro with Arson, Second Degree and Malicious Burning, First Degree. He is currently waiting a bond review hearing at the Charles County Detention Center.

The fire destroyed the mobile motor home and then spread to a 2000 Limousine and a small river boat. Damages were estimated to total $60,000.

Military Ordnance Safety Sweep Conducted at Newtowne Neck State Park

The State Fire Marshal’s Office Bomb Squad Underwater Hazardous Devices Team, Maryland State Police Dive Team, Baltimore County Bomb Squad, Maryland State Police Tactical Medic, Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Maryland Park Service conducted a two-day ordnance sweep operation at Newtowne Neck State Park located in Leonardtown on Thursday, June 27th and Friday, June 28th.

Newtowne Neck State Park has been closed to public access since January 6, 2012 as a direct result of several incidents of citizens finding and reporting military ordnance along the shoreline at the park. Subsequent to those discoveries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted extensive research into possible military activity on the property and preliminary findings revealed the area had been used as a Recovery Test Field for testing electronic components for anti-aircraft ordnance during World War II. Although the property was once the site of firing ranges, recovery fields and storage bunkers, none of the 57mm projectiles used contained any explosives.

The USACE briefed Maryland Park Service and State Fire Marshal officials on their preliminary findings and a plan was developed to search the park, both on land and underwater for any remaining devices. A thorough sweep of the area revealed 24 projectiles that were collected and rendered safe on scene. The nearby community was notified prior to controlled detonation of the items found and no injuries or property damage occurred during the two-day operation. Discussions continue regarding additional periodic sweep operations, particularly after future storm events which may unearth additional projectiles.

Public access to the area will remain restricted until the Maryland Park Service is able to fully evaluate the findings of the USACE report and the results of the recent sweep operations to ensure that the area is safe for use by Marylanders to enjoy for its intended purpose as a State Park. “Public safety will be paramount in any decision to re-open Newtowne Neck State Park to the public,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “We will continue to work with the Corps and the State Fire Marshal Bomb Squad to develop educational materials and response protocols to address the very real possibility that these materials will continue to be discovered at Newtowne Neck.”

The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office Bomb Squad would like to remind all citizens of the potential danger involved with handling military ordnance. Any citizens that have had contact or come into contact with military ordnance or similar objects, should call 911 immediately. The public should be reminded to use the "3R's" as a safe practice. "Recognize that any suspicious objects found in the area should not be touched under any circumstances. Retreat, or carefully leave the area. Report immediately what was found and its approximate location to the police."

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