Members of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center display a check outside of the Calvin B. Taylor Bank on Main Street in Berlin.

(Sept. 13, 2019) The Berlin community continues to raise money to help resident John Maxwell, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a June 13 fire that destroyed his home.

Members of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center, a local historical organization, presented a $1,712 check on Aug. 28 in front of the Calvin B. Taylor Bank in Berlin to assist with Maxwell’s medical and financial bills.

Barbara Purnell, of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center, said people sold chicken and pulled pork sandwiches and platters during an Aug. 24 fundraiser. She added that community churches also helped to organize the event.

“As a community, I just thought it would be good to help him out,” Purnell said.

People from Berlin, Ocean Pines, Ocean City, and Snow Hill participated in the benefit, which sold out of food by 5:30 p.m.

“A lot of people knew John,” she said.

Purnell added that her organization initially wanted to raise $1,000, but surpassed that goal by more than $700.

“It was overwhelming,” she said.

Maxwell’s Bethel Road two-story home was destroyed in the blaze, which he discovered after awakening to the smell of smoke. He was able to get out of the home before firefighters arrived, but not without injury.

Purnell recalled seeing the flames from her home on Germantown Road. “It was really devastating,” she said. “I could see the blaze from where I live.”

Firefighters from several areas, including Berlin, Showell, Bishopville, and Ocean Pines volunteer fire departments, assisted in extinguishing the flames. It took more than an hour to put the fire out.

“His house was just burnt to the ground,” Purnell said.

It’s unclear how the fire happened, and it’s still under investigation.

Maxwell was taken to Atlantic General Hospital for burns and smoke inhalation, according to the fire marshal’s office.

Purnell said Maxwell was then transferred to Salisbury Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Purnell said contributions can be made at the Calvin B. Taylor Bank on Main Street in Berlin.

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