Two firefighters from the Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department were injured Saturday morning after their tanker overturned while responding to a house fire in Huntingtown. The fire department reports both men have since been released from the hospital.
At about 8:10 a.m. March 18, deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to Robinson Road in Huntingtown for an overturned tanker. The Dunkirk VFD vehicle was responding as the primary water supply to a house fire at 3725 Robinson Road, a press release from the sheriff’s office states. A Nixle alert was distributed to the public from the sheriff’s office at 8:28 a.m., stating Robinson Road at Holland Cliff in Huntingtown was shut down due to an accident.
Lt. Marty Sealey, who was operating the tanker at the time of the crash, was transported to via Maryland State Police Trooper 2 helicopter to Medstar Washington Hospital Center. Lt. John Faulkner Jr. was also in the tanker during the crash and was transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital before being taken to Medstar Washington Hospital Center, where both men were listed in critical but stable condition.
Dunkirk VFD’s official public information officer Twitter page tweeted at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday that both men were released from Medstar. “They appreciate all of the outpouring and assistance,” the tweet added. The Dunkirk VFD Twitter page also posted a tweet thanking local public officials for their support, as well as others across the U.S.: “The support from across the country exemplifies the brotherhood of the fire service. From Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, and the region.”
A preliminary investigation revealed that as Dunkirk’s Tanker 5 was progressing through a curve on Robinson Road, a tire failure, with a “blowout” and full tread separation, occurred, the sheriff’s office release states. At this time, the investigation into the cause of tire failure is ongoing; however, it is apparent the tire failure is a factor that significantly contributed to this collision. Tanker 5 was en route to the fire site and was fully loaded at the time of the rollover. The vehicle is capable of carrying 3,000 gallons of water.
Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Crash Reconstruction Team is conducting an investigation into the exact cause of the tire failure and the collision.
The house fire was extinguished and is also under investigation. According to a notice from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, the fire started at 7:51 a.m. in a single-story wood-framed house after it was discovered in the chimney by an occupant of the home. Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department was the primary responding department, and the fire took about 10 minutes to control, with a total of 35 firefighters on scene.
The fire was ruled accidental as a result of a malfunction in the chimney, the notice states. It extended into the attic of the house, causing moderate damage, including an estimated $75,000 loss to the structure and $50,000 in contents. There were no reported injuries as a result of the fire.
The occupant was displaced and is being assisted by family.
Anyone with additional information regarding the tanker accident is asked to contact Det. Vlad Bortchevsky with the Crash Reconstruction Team at 410-535-2800 or email@example.com.