Oak Orchard fire kills one, destroys apartment building

A late-night fire demolished six apartments and left one person dead in Oak Orchard last week.

Firefighters were called to a structure fire at 3:05 a.m. on Friday, April 10.

The building was already heavily aflame when the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company arrived at 28420 Delaware Avenue, just a block off the Indian River Bay.

All six units at the Haddix Apartments — repurposed from an old hotel — were occupied. The fire began in Unit 2, where the fatality occurred.

All of the apartments are too damaged to be inhabitable, but there were no other injuries. The American Red Cross was deployed to help the residents.

Delaware’s Division of Forensic Science will conduct an autopsy and provide positive identification of the victim. The agency did not provide identifying details before Coastal Point’s April 15 press deadline. The Delaware State Fire Marshal was still investigating and would not speculate on the fire’s cause.

Delaware has had four fire fatalities this year and had seven in all of 2014.

“One is too much for me,” said Michael Chionchio, assistant state fire marshal.

The physical fire damage was estimated at $100,000.

“Emergency response units from Millsboro and Lewes were actively deployed with fire suppression responsibilities, including … roof ventilation, fire-suppression activities and water-supply operations,” according to the IRVFC’s report.

Frankford and Georgetown fire companies were on standby, while “Dagsboro’s stand-by assignment was upgraded to assist with water supply.”

Sussex County paramedics and the electric supply provider were present on the scene, as well.

Fire photos can be viewed online at www.irvfc.com/gallery.