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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


‘Suspicious’ fires strike Berlin area

(July 23, 2015) Although the investigation continued at the beginning of the week, arson has not been ruled in a series of small fires on the outskirts of Berlin last Thursday morning.
According to a press released issued last Friday by the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s office, the incident centered on a single-family home on Pony Island Lane in Berlin, but included other fires that occurred at the same time in the area.
The Ocean City Fire Department responded, with assistance from the county fire marshal and county sheriff’s office.
Worcester County Fire Marshal Jeff McMann said there were four points of origin in the fires and all were categorized as “suspicious.”
McMann said the fires erupted along a private lane, roughly three quarters of a mile long, near the Mystic Harbor development.
“From the beginning of the first [fire] to the house is three quarters of a mile and there were three brush fires between the entrance to Pony [Island Lane] and the house,” he said. “There was three brush areas and what I would consider as somebody attempting to burn something on the outside of the house,” he said. “Whether it was intentional or there was a willful malicious [attempt] to do destruction, or whether somebody was trying to clear brush or not, I don’t know.”
No injuries were reported, and McMann estimated the damage at less than $1,000.
Homeowner Karl Vanvonno, who was apparently on the property during the incident, said the damage to the home was minimal.
“There was brush and there was a little bit of damage on the house, but it seemed like it was caught in time,” he said. “It was nothing big, luckily.”
Asked if he believed arson was involved Vanvonno said, “I don’t know what else it could be.”
“I don’t even know what to say except we’re nervous about it and hopefully someone can figure something out,” he said.
Worcester County Fire Marshal Deputy Robert Korb is leading the investigation.