The white home on Silver Lake dates to about 1925, but has been empty for several years.

Firefighters from Dover and Little Creek were called out early Thursday evening to fight a fire at the former home of late Dover business woman Muriel Schwartz.

The initial call about the blaze went out at about 6:43 p.m. Oct. 20. The building, which has stood empty since Schwartz’ death in December 2014, is at 801 N. State St., overlooking Silver Lake.

Deputy Fire Chief Ronald W. Rhodes Sr. was directing operations at the scene.

Preliminary reports indicated the fire started on the first floor of the two story building, which is thought to have been built around 1925. Dover Fire Marshal Jason Osika was on hand to investigate the cause.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said two firefighters had been taken from the scene to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital.

He visited the pair late Thursday night.

"One had chest pains, and another had pains in his stomach," the mayor said. "But they checked out OK."

Both were sent home after being examined, he added.

"Firefighting is a strenuous duty," Christiansen explained. "You want to take every precaution and make sure everyone is OK."

The mayor is a former member of the Dover Fire Department. 

A neighbor said she saw smoke coming from the first floor as firefighters arrived; windows on the second floor appeared to have been smashed out, although it is not known if this was the result of efforts to extinguish the blaze or from damage caused over the more than two years since Schwartz had been forced to leave the home and move into a care facility before her death.

Schwartz’ father, George, built one of the first theaters in Dover; in 1922 he bought the Dover Opera House on South State Street and turned it into a movie theater. Today it operates as the Schwartz Center for the Arts.

George Schwartz died in 1942, leaving Muriel and her stepmother, Reba Schwartz, to operate the family business.

Both Reba and Muriel continued to live in the colonnaded white home on the shore of Silver Lake until Reba’s death in 1995.

Additional information will be available after the fire marshal completes his investigation.

(Note: This story has been updated to include information about the firefighters being treated at KGH).