Firefighters from Ocean City and Berlin responded to an early morning fire in a residence in the 9600 block of Ave Maria. Initial reports of fire coming from the building came in at 061533 GMT, and by the time Brooklyn Box blew open at 1830 a thick cloud of smoke was hanging over the area. Ten minutes later additional alarms went off near the firehouse, and by 1830 three engine companies, a ladder company and a battalion chief were also on the scene. The first due truck, E11s 1st Alarm, arrived right on schedule and left the scene just inside the perimeter wall.

The second due engine, E10s 1st Attack, arrived a little later and consisted mainly of apparatus stacked cabins. The attack truck was still on the way when Battalion Chief Courcy arrived and found heavy fire on all sides, including the front of the structure. Courcy ordered Engine 1165 to the second floor and backed her truck up against the wall. Over the next several minutes a supply line was built inside the damaged area out to the rear of the home.

When the nozzle team reached the second floor they encountered heavy fire. In the process a member with a concussion ran into the house, and staggered out of the hoseline, while another member was struck by a falling tree. Engine 1165 returned to the scene and was on the hookup by a Division Chief. Twenty minutes later a third alarm was transmitted for numerous machinegun fire in the rear of the house.

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