UPDATE: Victims of Fatal Fire in Chesapeake Beach Identified

April 8, 2019
Wendy Welch, 52, and Stephanie Link, 13

Wendy Welch, 52, and Stephanie Link, 13

UPDATE 4/8/2019 @ 11:15 a.m.: The two victims killed in the townhouse fire on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Chesapeake Beach have been identified by friends and family members as Wendy Welch, 52, and Stephanie Link, 13.

Welch and Link were grandmother and granddaughter.

No official ruling has been given for the fire, but a state fire marshal report says the fire was accidental and started outside.

UPDATE 4/4/2019 @ 6:15 p.m.: Deputy State Fire Marshals have concluded their origin and cause investigation. Based on the extensive damage to the structure, the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. However, it has been confirmed that the fire originated on the exterior of the structure and is not considered suspicious.

The two bodies are still in the process of being identified. Once that information becomes available, it will be released. The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office continues to work closely with the Office of the State Fire Marshal to bring this to a conclusion.

The State Fire Marshal, Brian Geraci reminds everyone to have an escape plan for their home. He also wants to remind everyone how IMPORTANT it is to PROPERLY DISCARD smoking materials.

Photo courtesy of Bobby Horton

UPDATE 4/4/2019 @ 5:00 p.m.: Deputy State Fire Marshals are currently on the scene conducting an origin and cause investigation of a late afternoon fire that occurred on April 3, 2019.

At approximately 4:15 p.m., North Beach Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding companies were dispatched to 3889 Gordon Stinnett Ave, Calvert County for a structure fire. Fire Department units arrived and located heavy fire conditions in multiple townhouses. A second alarm was requested bringing additional units from Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties.

Shortly after the arrival of the units, a collapse of the structure occurred. Several firefighters were injured, all non-life threatening. Three firefighter’s sustained burns and one had a shoulder injury. All firefighters were from the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department and all have been treated and released from the hospital.

Crews quickly learned there were at least two residents who could not be located. Subsequently, two residents were located deceased within the collapsed fire debris. Both victims have been transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsies. At this time a positive identification of both victims is pending.

Approximately 17 people have been displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

It is reported by witnesses that the fire started on the exterior of the building and therefore, there was no sprinkler and no smoke alarm activation. Damages are estimated to be at $1,000,000.

The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office is providing assistance with the investigation.

UPDATE 4/3/2019 @ 5:45 p.m.: Officials at the scene have said that 2 people have been confirmed deceased.

As many as seven families have been displaced, and at least 5 townhomes destroyed.

In addition to the 3 injured firefighters who were transported to area hospitals, 10 firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

4/3/2109 @ 5:00 p.m.: On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at approximately 4:15 p.m., firefighters from North Beach and surrounding companies responded to Gordon Stinnett Ave in Chesapeake Beach, for the reported structure fire.

Crews arrived on scene to find a 2-story structure with fire showing.

Firefighters requested a working fire alarm and requested more units.

Multiple maydays were reported with one firefighter trapped. At least five buildings are involved

Three injuries have been reported.

One firefighter has been transported to an area burn center by a Maryland State Police Helicopter, and one patient was transported to an area trauma center by ambulance.

A second helicopter is currently en-route to the scene for another firefighter with burns.
Updates will be provided when they become available.


Photo courtesy of Bobby Horton

51 Responses to UPDATE: Victims of Fatal Fire in Chesapeake Beach Identified

  1. Kathie on April 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Prayers to all involved

  2. Ct on April 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Prayers for the heroes who always put others before themselves. Our first responders

  3. Josn Fenzau on April 3, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Prayers for everyone.Especially the injured firefighters and the people with lost homes

  4. WhatEveryoneIsThinking on April 3, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Sounds like the firefighters need better training!

    • Annie Logan on April 3, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      Say what? Do you have ANY idea what the requirements and training are for Firefighters in Calvert? ( all Volunteer) They get the same training, and meet the same requirements as any paid FF in Maryland, they are required to retrain each year for certain skill sets. I was a FF and crawling thur a smoked filled building searching for people is wicked hard and stressful, especially when your tank begins to run out of air and you hear the ringing bell pounding in your head, and you can barely see 3 feet in front of you, as you try to keep calm and find your way out! never complain about our ALL Volunteer FF needing better training!! What they need is more support from idiots like you! How dare you!!! Shame!!

      • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 12:37 am

        I cannot believe that someone would post an inconsiderate, callus comment like that.. I understand your outrage. Everyone is a critic. They want to hurt and criticize, rather than saying thank you for your service. Shame.

      • Mike Betts on April 4, 2019 at 1:04 am

        Well said, Annie Logan.

      • Barbara on April 4, 2019 at 5:17 am

        God bless you!

      • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 7:19 am

        Thank you so much Annie. My son is a volunteer. They train just as hard as a paid firefighter. They volunteer because they love what they do. WHATEVERYONESTHINIING should keep his/her comments to him/herself.

      • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 7:59 am

        I agree. More training is needed.

        • Christine Wells on April 4, 2019 at 11:33 am

          You are an idiot…let’s see if you would be saying that if those firefighter’s who got burned/hurt were pulling your loved one out of that fire, risking their own lives for you or your family. Would you say the same. I’m quite sure not. You should be grateful that there are men and women in your community that care enough to do this on their own time risking their lives for you. There is a much bigger picture than your ignorance. Research how much training they have and constantly get before you spew this crap!!!!! Unbelievable.

          • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 5:02 pm

            When people get hurt, more training is needed.

          • Lizzy on April 8, 2019 at 11:45 am

            To the critics of the faithful fireman. When you wake up in hell, you will wish a fireman could hear your screams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Meghan Reid on April 4, 2019 at 9:03 am

        I couldn’t of said it better myself Annie Logan. My father was a fire fighter and had a crippling injury during a fire when the roof collapsed on him. Some people have no idea the literal hell these brave men and women run into while everyone is running out. And the training is so extensive that only the best serve even at volunteer stations. Thank you for standing up for them.

      • WHATEVERYONESTHINIING on April 4, 2019 at 9:52 am

        Annie, I am full aware of the IDLH conditions inside a building fire as I am a volunteer firefighter and was there yesterday. Not all volunteer firefighters have the same training as paid firefighters. If you look at their training records, most have the bare minimum to “Ride”. Thank you for thanking me for my service.

        • tr3elf@comcast.netAnnie Logan on April 4, 2019 at 8:34 pm

          “Thank you for thanking me for my service.”
          You are joking…Right?
          Thank you for what? You expect a gold star for being a Volunteer?
          This is NOT about you, but about who we serve. Not because you expect kuddos for what you do Don’t be so selfish.

    • Citizen1 on April 4, 2019 at 12:03 am

      It’s retards like you that should be banned from the internet.

      • Florist Gump on April 7, 2019 at 7:59 am

        Retards and volunteer firefighters go together like peas and carrots.

    • Kyle on April 4, 2019 at 1:20 am

      Firefighters in Calvert county goes through the extensive training through the state of md firefighters can get injured or even killed in the line of duty don’t even talk about how much they do to save our lives daily

      • WhatEveryoneIsThinking on April 4, 2019 at 10:04 am

        If you look at training records, most volunteer firefighters have the bare minimum of training to “Ride”. FYI.

    • Sad Calvert Resident on April 4, 2019 at 6:46 am

      I agree. Look at the picture of the burning townhome with the firefighter in the high lift ladder. Notice that no water is being used. He is just sitting there watching the place burn. Having been at several fires as the fire department arrives, it always amazes me how very painfully slow they are to respond. What was initially an easy fire to extinguish become a raging inferno while the firefighters try to figure out how to use their equipment. Training is severely inadequate. The equipment is so out of date. And the whole idea of lets get this fire out right away is completely lost.

      • Andrew on April 4, 2019 at 11:39 am

        Your comment is unbelievably ignorant. That picture is a moment in time. You act as if he sat up there all afternoon watching. There are numerous reasons why water might not be flowing in that photo. I don’t know the timeline, but possible reasons include they were establishing the water connection to the ladder pipe. He may have paused to allow crews below to re-position. As for the slowness to respond – it takes a moment to connect hoses to hydrants. It takes a moment to stretch the hose and position everyone. You don’t just go all cowboy running into a fire – that’s how people get killed. Take a moment to learn a little about firefighting operations before you denigrate an entire group of people who are trying to serve and protect you.

      • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 2:51 pm

        How fast can you hook up a 100 foot ladder to a water source…It does take a few minutes and it might look like they are doing nothing, but they are about to pressure up the line and start dumping gallons of water per minute on the fire. Equipment is all up to date. How about you get your sorry ass up there and volunteer like many of us have done. You disgust me! Shame on you!!!
        If you are really a Sad Calvert Resident, you can move to someplace else….like an island where there is water everywhere!

    • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 7:10 am

      Sounds like you are practicing cranial/rectum insertion

    • Lisa Stanton on April 4, 2019 at 7:15 am

      Wind driven fires are very fast moving therefore difficult to contain.

    • Anonymous on April 4, 2019 at 8:08 am

      TROLL!!

    • SAR on April 4, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      What everyone is thinking is you are a keyboard warrior that doesn’t have a clue. These are not good old boys (girls) that hang off the back of a truck. They are trained firefighters that do the same job that paid firefighters do but for free. I won’t knock paid firefighters but to take the risk Calvert and other volunteers do for nothing other than internal satisfaction takes a lot. These guys hold full time jobs and sacrifice time away from home to learn their skills and maintain currency. And no, I am not a firefighter. I am a former resident of Calvert that was so impressed with the volunteer efforts that I joined a search and rescue team when I moved out west.

    • Anonymous on April 8, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Unfortunately, all these people saying better training is needed and comparing paid vs volunteer lack to realize or admit that a good portion of the Calvert county volunteers are also paid or retired fire fighters in other counties or states.

    • Notwhatiwasthinkingdick on April 8, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      What everyone’s thinking was clearly a disgruntled wannabes firefighter who couldn’t pass the most basic skills to become a firefighter. Keep shooting for the stars slug. Your welcome for that last welfare check bro.

  5. Joe on April 3, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Preliminary report said the fire started from the outside. Just a guess but I bet cause was from improperly discarded smoking material. Smokers think the world is their ashtray. That’s what burned down the Lighthouse restaurant in Solomons years ago.

    • CT on April 3, 2019 at 11:43 pm

      Until you know the facts, JSTFU!!!!

      • Vanilla Ice on April 4, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        I agree, we dont know the facts. However, i also agree with Joe. Smokers are disgusting a-holes with absolutely no care in the world how their disgusting habit impacts everyone around them.

      • Joe on April 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Hmmmmm well the Fire Marshall just reminded smokers to discard smoking materials properly. What a coincidence. It only took one cigarette butt combined with wind to destroy the original Lighthouse restaurant.

    • JUST SAY NO TO SMOKING on April 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      totally agree on the cigarette why do people continue to smoke?! They not only kill you they kill other innocent people! How about ban nasty cigarettes and find another hobby or a healthy habit its 2019 STOP SMOKING ALREADY!

      • truthteller on April 8, 2019 at 12:05 am

        Shut up you little whiney snowflake.

      • Anonymous on April 8, 2019 at 3:07 pm

        Stay out of my business and I will stay out of yours. If you continue to take away peoples freedoms you cease to be free. As a responsible smoker who discards his cigarettes properly and never smokes around non-smokers I am not bothering anyone. If you see someone throwing their butts on the ground then call the cops on them for littering. As for the rest of us, it is none of your business or the governments business what we do with our free time. We already have enough self righteous laws to tell us how to live our lives, we don’t need anymore.

      • Harry Callahan on April 8, 2019 at 5:14 pm

        You can go back to texting and driving now, punk.

        • Harry Callahan on April 8, 2019 at 5:16 pm

          Just to clarify – the Just Say No To Smoking Punk.

  6. MikeinMorganza on April 3, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    So sad to hear of this :/

    What’s up with all the fires lately?

  7. Barry on April 4, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I hope that all who was involved is okay and prayers to their families.

  8. LM on April 4, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Sending prayers to all involved. Thank you to all the volunteer services who dedicate their lives in to helping others. I hope those who were injured make a full recovery.

  9. Tom Hodge on April 4, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Very Sad, for the family of the victims. Also for the firefighters and their families. You talk of better training, that is what we are trained for. Maybe COMMAND should have more training, from the pictures I see and just from that since I was not there. They should have not been allowed to enter the bldg once the search for the victims had been handled. It’s easy to sit back and judge others and be a critic, unless you live it, breath it, love it. DON’T JUDGE

    • truthteller on April 7, 2019 at 11:57 pm

      You dumbass hypocrit LOL you sit there and judge command, yet tell us not to judge and be a critic. You’re an idiot, thats for sure. SMH.

  10. HB on April 4, 2019 at 11:27 am

    How heartless can you all be?? Lives were lost, VOLUNTEER Firefighters were injured. Sounds like to me you need to join your local VOLUNTEER Fire Department/Rescue Squad so that you can respond to calls with your expertise training skills and so called knowledge. Prayers to ALL that were involved in this terrible fire.

  11. Oldschool on April 4, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    The best way to respond to someone who says something idiotic/stupid/ignorant is too not respond. That way they will wonder if anyone cared, which we don’t. They say dumb things to get a response. Please don’t waste your time with them. TRUST ME, If their house was on fire they sing a different tune. Just ignore them.Just like if they respond to this I will ignore them.

    • Anonymous on April 8, 2019 at 12:03 am

      Yet your dumba## responded in the first place. Practice what you preach and STFU.

  12. Brian Hardesty on April 5, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Were those damaged units subsidized housing?

  13. KS on April 5, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Such a sad event. My thoughts and prayers are for everyone involved from the families with lost members, the displaced families and to the wonderful Volunteer firefighters who risked their lives on this call. It would undoubtedly have been much worse had you not been there. You can feel proud of yourselves. I personally want to thank you (as probably 9.99 percent of the community does). We appreciate you, pray for your safety, and hope that you ignore the comments that were critical. Sometimes ignorance just has to be. I do not live in your area, but feel proud that you are there for YOURS!

    • Gary Webb on April 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

      9.99 percent of the community? I hope you meant 99.9 percent of the community.

  14. Anonymous on April 8, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    YES….

  15. johnny on April 8, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    That area is a low income trash area. I drove through there a few years back and it looked almost like downtown Baltimore. It’s no surprise that it didn’t burn down sooner. People probably using BBQ or throwing butts out or something stupid