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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Arsonist Sentenced - Upper Marlboro Restaurant Fire

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief PIO, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us.    @PGFDPIO and @PGFDNews

Jessica Poole was arrested for setting fire to an Upper Marlboro building on August 2, 2018. She plead guilty to one count of Arson (1stDegree) and one count of Arson (2ndDegree). Poole was sentenced today to (20) years, of which all but 18 months were suspended by the judge. As a part of the plea deal, the remaining charges were “nolle prossed.”

Poole will also be placed on five years of supervised probation, and is ordered to undergo alcohol and drug treatment programs as well as an anger management program.

Personnel from the Office of the Fire Marshal received “Another job well done for their diligent work in bringing this case to an arrest and conviction,” said County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale. “This sentencing is the second in the past two weeks for arson, and I commend everyone involved. Arson is a serious crime, and we will work day and night to find whoever is responsible as well as work with our States Attorney’s Office to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.”






Jessica Poole Arrest Photo

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fire Chief Commends Fire Investigators Upon Sentencing of Arsonist

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief PIO, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale congratulated his Fire Investigators for a job well done after the sentencing of a arsonist last week.  Investigators from the Department's Office of the Fire Marshal worked diligently to investigate, identify a suspect, arrest and assist in the prosecution of Tyree Torney.
"Arson is a heinous crime that will always be investigated relentlessly by a very talented and skilled group of fire investigators," stated Fire Chief Barksdale.  "We will work together with prosecutors to ensure that anyone charged with Arson and related crimes is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The sentencing of Tyrone Torney is an example of the teamwork of fire investigators and prosecutors.  

The convicted arsonist was vying to become a volunteer member within the combined Fire/EMS Department. The investigation discovered that Torney had participated in a popular and long established ride-along program.  To ensure the ride-along program meets the expectations of it's participants an internal Department review is being conducted.

Press Release from Office of the States Attorney for Prince George's County

Hyattsville Man Sentenced in Three Separate Arson Cases

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Tyree Torney, 20, was sentenced to 30 years, suspend all but years, with all but eight years of the sentence suspended followed by five years of supervised probation for first degree arson and other related charges in three separate cases, announced State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy today at a press conference.
On February 11, 2019, Proctor pled guilty to first degree arson, first degree attempted arson, malicious burning and other related charges.
In the first incident, on May 2, 2017, Mr. Torney started a fire on a wooden bridge near his home in Hyattsville. A month later, on June 10th, he set fire to his ex-girlfriend’s house, knowing that she and her family, including an infant, were inside the home at the time.
Additionally, on the evening of February 12, 2018, Mr. Torney started a fire in a supply closet at Suitland High School in Suitland. The school at the time was occupied including janitorial personnel, a few students and one teacher.
“This is a very unfortunate case, in which Mr. Torney, on three separate, occasions intentionally set fires across our county,” said State’s Attorney Braveboy. “Today, we held Mr. Torney accountable for his senseless and very dangerous actions. We are sending a message that if you commit arson, and put people’s lives at risk, you will face the consequences.”
Contact:
Denise Roberts
Communications Director
Office of the State’s Attorney, Prince George’s County
dgroberts@co.pg.md.us
240-832-4970 cell or 301-952-2848 office

Monday, May 20, 2019

Memorial Day Safety Tips - Swimming and Grilling

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Public Information Officer, 240-508-7930

mebrady@co.pg.md.us     TWITTER: @PGFDPIO

Memorial Day is commonly thought of as the start of summer.  Most students are still in school and the pool water might still be a little chilly, however, the traditional start of summer is here.

Summer vacations are being planned with "staycations" becoming more popular with residents enjoying swimming, BBQ'ing and planning many other fun activities right here in Prince George's County.  The Memorial Day weekend is when many private, public and home swimming pools open as well as BBQ grills are cleaned off and readied for summer cook-outs.

Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale and the men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) unfortunately have seen many festive occasions quickly turn into tragedy when a swimming incident or BBQ grill fire erupts.  Chief Barksdale said, "We want to help you avoid those circumstances."

Everyone needs to keep safety at the forefront of every activity.  We offer these common sense safety tips that will help to keep everyone safe including our firefighters and paramedics.  By you staying safe, keeps our emergency personnel in the Fire/EMS Station and available for other incidents.  Remember, Safety First!!!

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecues will be in use over the course of this upcoming long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months. The men and women; volunteer, civilian and career of PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County?? This includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!


•  NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•  By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•  When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a safe distance from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•  In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•  Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•  Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•  Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•  Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.


Swim Safely


Currently our forecast calls for a beautiful Holiday weekend and thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.
 
A misconception exists in that when someone is drowning the event is loud and filled with screams for help and splashing water.  This is far from the reality.  Drowning occurs silently and without warning.  Adult supervision, without distraction, is vitally important.  Put down the smart phone and pay attention to the water.

For parents:

•  Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning. 

•  Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•  Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•  Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•  If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•  Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•  Learn CPR and how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

Personal Flotation Devices (PFD's) are important and can help to prevent accidental drowning in any area of water.  A child wearing a PFD does not excuse adult supervision.



For home pool owners and managers:

•  Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•  Use self-closing latches and gates.

•  Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•  Have lifesaving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles.  Commercial and public pools should have an AED readily available and personnel trained on how to use it if needed.

Speaking of swimming pools, Firefighter/Medics can perform a wide variety of services, emergency and non-emergency, to assist our citizens, visitors and businesses.  One of the services we do not provide is to fill your swimming pool with water.  Please contact a contractor that can provide this service for you.   

As always, never drink and drive.  

Check your smoke and CO alarms to make sure they are working. Make sure overnight guest are familiar with your home escape plan and the safe place to meet outside.

The combined volunteer, civilian and career men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a festive and safe Memorial Day.  Keep safety in every aspect of your event!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

FIRE/EMS Department Presents 2018 Valor and Excellence in EMS Awards

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief PIO, 240-508-7930
MEBrady@co.pg.md.us.    @PGFDPIO

On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 the Prince George's County Public Safety Valor Awards were held at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland.  the following are the recipients for events that occurred in 2018.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
GOLD MEDAL OF VALOR
Line of Duty Death
Presented to


FIRE FIGHTER JESSE W. McCULLOUGH

In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Fire Fighter Cancer Presumption Bill. This added several types of cancers to the list presumed to be job-related, contracted in the course of duty as a firefighter or paramedic. 

On January 31, 2017, Firefighter McCullough was diagnosed with occupational colorectal cancer. His valiant 21-month fight against this disease was a testament to his fortitude and tenacity. During his battle, Firefighter McCullough encouraged his fellow firefighters and paramedics to take precautionary measures against developing this insidious disease. He even went so far as to routinely wash his entire crew’s protective hoods. Firefighter McCullough served our Department and the residents of Prince George’s County for over 10 years. He passed away on October 9, 2018. 
For his courage in battling the job-related cancer that resulted in him making the ultimate sacrifice, Firefighter Jesse W. McCullough is awarded a Gold Medal of Valor. 

Recently, the Maryland General Assembly overwhelmingly passed the “Fire Fighter Jesse McCullough Cancer Protection Law,” named after our fallen comrade. This Law will ensure that firefighters and paramedics who serve in multiple jurisdictions will have their cumulative service count toward the time required to be protected under the Workers Compensation Law if diagnosed with an occupational cancer. In addition, the law will ensure that these protections extend to our retired firefighters and paramedics who contract a covered occupational illness. 

Accepting Firefighter McCullough’s medal is his widow, Susie. She is being escorted to the stage by Captain Stephanie Buffum and Lieutenant Erica Hasan.



Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Presented to


FIREFIGHTER/MEDIC LIEUTENANT KATHLEEN M. MARTELL

On January 4, 2016, Firefighter/Medic Lieutenant Kathleen Martell, a 19-year veteran of the Fire/EMS Department, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the weeks following her diagnosis, Lieutenant Martell began chemotherapy treatments. The treatments made her ill, caused hair loss, and depleted her energy. All of this did not stop her from performing the duties of her position in an exemplary manner. Throughout her ordeal, Lieutenant Martell, who is assigned to the Special Events Division, worked very hard to keep the unit operating. 

Nearly one year after her chemo treatments ended, Lieutenant Martell underwent a double mastectomy. She returned to work one month later and accepted an Acting Lieutenant position, where she put forth 100 percent effort. While still receiving chemo medication, Lieutenant Martell finished the coursework requirements for the Lieutenant’s exam and even went on ride-alongs. Despite experiencing constant nausea, weakness, and extreme fatigue caused by the medication, she sat for and passed the Lieutenant’s exam. Three months later she was again diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Lieutenant Martell endured a third surgery and began a six-week course of radiation. At the completion of this treatment she reported for work daily, kept up with her responsibilities, and did so with a great attitude. However, she was placed on a new medication that made her too ill to report for duty. The medication was stopped, and another round of chemotherapy began and was administered until this past March. 
Throughout this most difficult time, Lieutenant Martell has never given up. She continues to work hard, remain positive, and make people laugh with her wonderful sense of humor. While still battling health issues, she has not faltered in managing the demanding workload in the Special Events office. 

Fire Lieutenant Kathleen Martell has demonstrated extreme courage and perseverance under the most difficult circumstances. She is a fighter and an inspiration to those who know her, and an asset to our Department. Therefore, Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale is please to name her as the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department “2018 Firefighter of the Year.”

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Gold Medal of Valor
Presented To


Firefighter/Medic Captain
Russell L. Poe

On Monday, June 11, 2018, units from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 responded to a house fire in the 3900 block of Coach Lane. Crews arrived to find heavy, dense smoke obscuring their view. The engine slowly advanced through the smoke until the house of origin was observed and reported as a single-family dwelling with fire showing. 

Crews dismounted the apparatus, gained entry through the front door, and began extinguishing the venting fire. Captain Poe advised his crew members that he was going to make his way up to the second floor to search for possible occupants. Without the protection of a hose line and under limited visibility and moderate heat he reached the second floor and heard muffled screaming. He then radioed Command and asked if there were any reports of people trapped while requesting a search crew to the second floor as soon as possible. 

Captain Poe had been searching for approximately one minute when he heard someone yelling, “Help!” Realizing his proximity to the victims, he advanced through a bedroom door and located a woman in severe respiratory distress lying on the floor in heavy smoke. Her 2-year-old daughter was also in the bedroom. Captain Poe immediately attempted to shut the door and alerted crews that he had two victims upstairs. He had selflessly removed his Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to share with the mother and her young daughter when a fellow firefighter responded to his location and carried the child down the stairs. Captain Poe and the woman were able to take a few breaths of fresh air prior to him removing her from the structure. 

Both victims were removed from the burning structure and placed in the care of EMS personnel. The child was transported to Children’s National Medical Center in respiratory distress and the mother to MedStar. The pair has since been released from the hospital. 

For extreme personal risk and the highest degree of judgment, zeal, and ingenuity, Firefighter/Medic Captain Russell L. Poe is awarded a Gold Medal of Valor.


Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Valor
Presented To


Volunteer EMS Lieutenant
Scott Globerman

On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, the ambulance from Laurel Volunteer Rescue Squad, Inc. responded for a car crash on the Beltway in the College Park/Beltsville area. On arrival, Lieutenant Scott Globerman noticed several bystanders looking toward the overpass and pointing to an adult female standing on the bridge edge of the guardrail. He proceeded to the distressed female’s location while his partner remained with their crash victim who had suffered only minor injuries. Upon reaching the woman, Lieutenant Globerman radioed for police assistance and requested the Rescue Squad from St. Joseph’s Fire/EMS Station 806 to provide barrier protection. 

Lieutenant Globerman and an unidentified bystander approached the female who had pulled her shirt over her head and appeared ready to jump. His attempts to engage her in conversation proved futile, as she repeatedly stated that she must wait until 5:00 P.M. Globerman determinedly continued to engage the woman and eventually persuaded her to let him move her to safety. He then escorted the female to an ambulance from Calverton and the waiting Maryland State Police. Following the patient’s transport to an area hospital, Globerman returned to his ambulance to complete transport of the crash victim. 

Lieutenant Globerman’s quick thinking and immediate action on the scene of this incident prevented a potentially tragic outcome. 

For judgement, zeal, and ingenuity, Volunteer EMS Lieutenant Scott Globerman is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.


Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Valor
Presented To


Volunteer Firefighter
Jordan J. Demeritt

On the evening December 17, 2018, Volunteer Firefighter Jordan Demeritt, a technical rescue member of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Marine Fire Rescue Station 57, was on Holiday Block Leave from the United States Army and returning home from Christmas shopping. Firefighter Demeritt was traveling westbound on Route 50 when he noticed fire rolling from beneath a vehicle traveling up ahead. Within seconds of Firefighter Demeritt reaching the vehicle, flames had grown in intensity and the driver was pulling over. With the presence of heavy smoke and fire, Firefighter Demeritt pulled his t-shirt up over his mouth and nose and approached the vehicle. With fuel feeding the fire, he was able to rescue 2 adults and a child prior to shutting off the engine. The grateful family was sheltered away from their vehicle that was now totally engulfed in flames. 

Firefighter Demeritt’s quick thinking heroic and actions directly contributed to saving the lives of this family. He was also awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his actions “in answering the call whenever and wherever that may be”. 

For great personal risk, judgement, and zeal, Volunteer Firefighter Jordan J. Demeritt is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Valor
Presented To


Firefighter/Medic
Lester H. Bascom

Firefighter/Paramedic III Lester H. Bascom, assigned to the County Tactical EMS program, is being awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor along with police officers from his tactical team.  Bascom’s team was involved in an incident that included a police involved shooting.  Without his pre-hospital care aa life was saved.

For judgement, zeal, and ingenuity Fire Fighter/Medic Lester H. Bascom is hereby awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.


Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Silver Medal of Excellence In EMS /
Emergency Medical Technician of the Year
Presented To


Firefighter
Colin M. Patterson

Silver Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To


Firefighter/Medic
Alexander L. Hamburger

In the early morning hours of June 22, 2018, Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and then Probationary Firefighter Patterson were on board the Paramedic Ambulance from Fire/EMS Station 838, which responded for an individual vomiting blood. The pair was already on the scene when Public Safety Communications advised that the incident was possibly assault-related. Firefighter/Medic Hamburger communicated that they would stage in the apparatus outside the residence until County police arrived at the location and determined the scene safe. 

Assured the scene was safe, Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and Firefighter Patterson entered the home and discovered an approximately 35-year-old male suffering from a traumatic stab wound to the face and significant blood loss. A 
large object was impaled through his cheek and had exited on the opposite side of his throat. The patient began to decompensate almost immediately upon initial contact. 
Firefighter Patterson recognized the patient’s rapid deterioration and without instruction or hesitation obtained a Reeves stretcher from the unit and quickly aided in removing the patient from the basement apartment. While Firefighter/Medic Hamburger was performing stabilization efforts, Firefighter Patterson obtained vitals, prepared ALS monitoring equipment, and maintained the rapidly deteriorating patient’s airway—all without instruction or having previously performed such tasks. 
A firefighter from another unit on the scene drove Paramedic Ambulance 838 while Firefighter/Medic Hamburger and Firefighter Patterson continued stabilizing the patient and maintaining his airway. 

Firefighter Patterson, with only 5 months on the job and this being the first shift where he provided BLS care on the Paramedic Ambulance, performed far above and beyond what is typically expected of a probationary firefighter. His 
actions greatly impacted the patient’s chances for survival in an extremely time-sensitive incident. 

One month following the incident, the patient was released from the hospital to continue care at an outpatient rehabilitation facility. He was expected to make a full recovery. It was later learned that the object impaled in the victim’s face was a 10-inch chef’s knife that barely missed his carotid artery by millimeters and other major arteries in his face. 

For the highest degree of judgement, zeal, ingenuity, and great EMS skills, Firefighter/Medic Alexander L. Hamburger and Firefighter Colin M. Patterson are awarded a Silver Medal for Excellence in EMS. 

Additionally, Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale is pleased to name Firefighter Patterson as the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s “2018 Emergency Medical Technician of the Year”.


Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To


Firefighter/Medic Captain
Stephanie A. Buffum


Firefighter
Timothy L. Goldring


Firefighter
Sean P. Van Weems

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, units from the Fire/EMS Department were dispatched to 6800 block of Riverdale Road for the report of an unconscious child. Engine 830 from Landover Hills was the first on the scene. On arrival, Captain Buffum, Firefighter Goldring, and Firefighter Van Weems encountered a 5-year-old girl lying in the hallway of the apartment. The child, who had labored breathing and was unresponsive to verbal or painful stimuli, was immediately ventilated. Firefighter Van Weems provided ventilation and answered questions regarding compliance while Captain Buffum set up for inline nebulizer treatment. The child’s mother advised that her daughter had a significant asthma history and had taken her “rescue inhaler” just prior to collapsing. 

Firefighter Goldring quickly pulled medications as requested, and the inline nebulizer treatment was initiated while awaiting arrival of a transport unit. The patient was also ventilated by bag valve mask, as her respiratory effort was inconsistent throughout transport. The young patient, although lethargic, was verbal with the crew and able to report that her breathing had improved. The Children’s National Medical Center was consulted in route, and reassessments and treatments were completed throughout transport. The patient remained stable upon arrival at the hospital. 

This was a challenging call, as personnel had limited information and a very unstable child upon arrival. Without the calm presence and diligent actions presented by this team, this incident would have had a very different outcome. 

For judgment, zeal, and unusual EMS skills, knowledge, and abilities, Firefighter/Medic Captain Stephanie L. Buffum, Firefighter Timothy L. Goldring, and Firefighter Sean P. Van Weems are awarded a Bronze Medal for Excellence in EMS.


Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department
Bronze Medal of Excellence In EMS
Presented To


Firefighter
Brian Drummond

On the morning of April 27, 2018, while driving to work on westbound Sheriff Road in heavy rain, Firefighter Brian Drummond observed a car hydroplane. The vehicle that was traveling eastbound landed in a 4 to 6-foot-deep ditch on the side of the road. Firefighter Drummond quickly proceeded to the scene and taking no thought for his safety, climbed down into the ditch where he encountered a female in the driver’s seat. After conducting a search to ensure there were no other victims, Firefighter Drummond assisted the woman from the ditch and contacted Public Safety Communications. Arriving EMS personnel transported the patient to Prince George’s Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. 

For unusual personal risk, judgment, and zeal, Firefighter Brian Drummond is awarded a Bronze Medal for Excellence in EMS.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Remembering Our Own (04-15-2016) "Skillet" by Fire Chief Barksdale





Remembering Our Own (04-15-2016)
Benjamin M. Barksdale
Fire Chief - Prince George's County, MD

      May the distance of time in no way diminish our resolve to ensure that our Fallen Heroes are never forgotten.  Let us pause to remember our Fallen Hero from the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, Lieutenant John E. Ulmschneider, known by most as “Skillet,” lost this day in 2016 while in response to a call.

      “Skillet” was born on February 24, 1979, in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Prince George's County at the age of 10 and graduated from Surrattsville High School.  He joined the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department on March 10, 2003, as a member of Career Recruit School 32.  Upon entering the field, Ulmschneider made great friends and became a great friend to many. 

      At approximately 1930 hours on the evening of April 15, 2016, Ulmschneider and his partner responded on Paramedic Ambulance 823 with Rescue Engine 827 to a “check on the welfare” call.  After several attempts to make contact with the home occupant, forcible entry was initiated.  Upon entry into the home, multiple gunshots were fired, leaving several wounded.  Brother Ulmschneider was fatally shot in the upper torso.

      John served the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department for 13 years.  At the time of his death, John “Skillet” Ulmschneider was 37 years old, andsurvived by his wife Dawn and their daughter Abigail.

      Let us learn from their stories so that our safety today stands as a lasting tribute to those who have gone before us....and let us keep their memory forever in our hearts.