Ocean City church fire kills two, critically injures one more

The fire broke out in a church near 3rd Street and Baltimore Avenue in Ocean City. Photo: Don Bowden

OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP/WJLA) - Authorities say one person is dead and two others suffered life-threatening injuries after a fire broke out in the rectory of a church in Ocean City.

Fire crews called to St. Paul's By-The-Sea church on Tuesday morning found fire coming from the rectory. The blaze grew to three alarms, but crews were able control the blaze quickly.

Flames burst from windows and doors of the church and burned fast during the cold morning, and witnesses say that the blaze began when a man on fire ran into the building. That person is believed to have been the one who died.

Volunteers and witnesses say that the man, engulfed in flames, possibly ran into the church for help, and set draperies inside the building alight. Fire officials still do not have an exact cause for the fire.

After searching through the charred wreckage, firefighters discovered the man's body in the section of the church that provides food and other services to the homeless.

Ocean City officials say two more people suffered life-threatening injuries. One of the injured was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore for treatment.

The other who was injured was identified by church members as Rector David Dingwall, who suffered severe burns. On Tuesday evening, it was confirmed that he has passed away.

Church officials say the fire broke out shortly after volunteers served breakfast to those in need.

Officials say the sanctuary of the historic church escaped the worst of the damage, and church members are now left to wonder what will happen to their planned Thanksgiving service.

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