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Monday, January 23, 2017

Guilty plea entered on weapons charge in fatal shooting of Prince George’s County Fire Fighter.

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

John "Skillet" Ulmschneider
A Temple Hills man that shot 3 people entering his home to check on his welfare pled guilty to one felony charge on Friday, January 20, 2017.  The man shot and killed Prince George’s County Fire Fighter John “Skillet” Ulmschneider, critically wounded Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin Swain and wounded his own brother on April 15, 2016.

While no charges were placed against the man for the assault and death, a Grand Jury did indict him on several charges related to possessing a weapon while having a previous felony charge on his criminal record.

In an Upper Marlboro Court Room on Friday with Skillets wife; Dawn, family members and friends, Chief Deputy Ben Barksdale, Assistant Fire Chief Alan Doubleday, IAFF Local 1619 President Andrew Pantelis as well as Morningside Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin Swan and family members present, the accused pled guilty to a single felony count of weapon possession which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.  Sentencing is set for March 31 at 1:30 pm.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Addison Road Church Fire - 1-12-2017

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters battled a fire at a Capitol Heights Church that caused significant damage.  Just before 12:30 pm, Thursday, January 12, 911 callers reported smoke was coming from a church in the 5900 block of Addison Road.  Firefighters arrived to find smoke showing and initiated a search of the structure for occupants as well as the source of the smoke.  No one was found inside and firefighters narrowed their search for the fire to the basement of the structure.

Fire Investigators believe the fire originated near a basement wall unit space heater with fire extension to the first floor within the confines of the walls.  To extinguish the fire firefighters had to   There were 55 firefighter/medics on the scene.  It took about 50 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.  Firefighters remained on the scene after the fire was out performing extensive overhaul.

The accidental fire caused an estimated $20,000 in fire loss.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Recognizing the 25th Anniversary, LODD Kenny Hedrick

Portion of Email from Chief Bashoor to Department today.

Good Morning All:

January 12, 1992 marked a tragedy that will forever live with our fire service family.  Morningside Volunteer Fire Department member, Firefighter Kenny Hedrick made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our community, 25 years ago today.  As our Department experienced again in 2016, it is never easy when we lose one of our own.  While we continue to analyze and work through the after-actions, it is our duty to ‘Never Forget’, especially our own.  Kenny’s sacrifice is forever enshrined and memorialized at station 827, at the Fire Services Building, and Nationally in Emmittsburg - yet enshrinement and memorialization is not enough.  We owe it to Kenny, and to each other to always strive for improvement and ultimately towards an environment where everyone will go home.

Les and Cathy Hedrick along with the rest of the family have dedicated their lives to sharing Kenny’s story and urging firefighters to take safety seriously.  Their unwavering support and work with the PGFD, the MSFA, and The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is my inspiration and should be an inspiration for us all.  Cathy has announced she will step down from her employment with the Foundation this year, however I suspect she and Les will continue to advocate for the 16-Life-Safety Initiatives and the other work of the NFFF.

Thank you to the Hedrick family for sharing Kenny with us.  Your sacrifice is not taken lightly and will be forever etched in our collective history and memory.

Marc S. Bashoor, Fire Chief
Prince George’s County Fire/EMS
9201 Basil Court, Suite 452
Largo, Maryland 20774

Safety First, Everyone Goes Home!

Check a smoke alarm today, you might save a life tonight!

Friday, January 6, 2017

County Fire Chief Bashoor Announces Retirement

Fire/EMS Department Accomplishments
During Tenure of Fire Chief Marc S, Bashoor

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor joined County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in announcing the Chiefs retirement after over 6 years on the job.  During a press conference at the St. Joe's Fire/EMS Station in Springdale County Executive Baker and Fire Chief Bashoor reflected on the accomplishments of the Department under Bashoor. 

Bashoor notified members of the Department via an Email on Thursday evening.  Chief Bashoor wrote:

Good Evening PGFD Family:

I have notified County Executive Baker of my intention to retire effective March 1, 2017.  It is, and has been my distinct honor to serve you and Prince George’s County as Fire Chief for the past 6+ years.

Please accept my thanks and appreciation for everything each of you has contributed to our Department.  Joining as a volunteer firefighter with the Bowie VFD in 1981 through my experiences as a union shop steward and at every rank up to Chief of the Department, which has included regional leadership with the Council of Governments and international travel for NFPA, I have served with some of the finest our service has to offer.  Thank you.

From hiring and volunteer recruitment, to ambulance billing and apparatus replacement, to community participation at many levels including on the Fire Commission,  to the high school cadet program and our new Leadership Academy effort, we have met our challenges head-on, and I believe the organization as a whole, is better for it. We have a solid platform from which the Department will continue to grow.  

Work on a seamless transition plan is ongoing - except for some time off in a couple weeks, I will continue to serve through the end of February.  County Executive Baker will officially announce my departure at a press conference scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Friday January 6 at station 806.   The Department will be notified via email as expected changes are revealed.

Thank you once again for everything you do everyday for this Department and for the community of Prince George’s County, which I have called home for over 45 years.  Stay smart and stay safe!

- 693 to 884 today (an amazing 28% staffing increase, achieved in just 5 years)
- Highest sworn strength ever, expect to be over 900 by Spring of next year
- Hired volunteer recruiter, averaging over 300 new volunteer recruits                                 fulfilling entry training requirements each year

·         12 Fire Recruit Classes containing a total of more than 420 new hires (that’s nearly half of the department) have been hired.  Classes 13-14 approved under budget
-3 SAFER Grant Recruit Classes have been hired – 72 Personnel

·         High School Cadet Program - in year 4, Flowers HS and Gwynn Park HS: 
- 17 College credits
- FF1 & 2
- Hazmat
- 102 hours of community service
- One cadet in CRS 53
- 14 applied for process of CRS 54 & 55

·         In Year 5 of 10-yr, $20M+ strategic County-Owned apparatus replacement and reinvestment plan 
- 44 Ambulances/Medic transport units
- 10 engines
- 4 trucks/tower
- 1 Squad
- New Rehab and Rehab support units – essential to on-scene personnel  safety
- Scores of support vehicles

·         Volunteer Apparatus
-9 ambulances
-7 engines
-2 trucks/towers
-multiple support vehicles

·         Placed 19 new (new staffing or dedicated) ambulances in service

·         Placed 5 paramedic ambulances and 5 paramedic engines in service

·         Budget enhanced 30% from FY11 $130,922,300 to over $170M in FY17.  A $39M increase.

·         Ambulance billing initiative w/shared revenue program for volunteer corporations

·         Reorganization of the Fire Commission to include Sworn & community representation

·         Enhanced around-the-clock coverage:

o   Safety Officer
o   2nd EMS Duty Officer
o   Doubled the number of stations with at least 4 career staffing  from 10 to 20

·         Initiated the process to obtain Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) accreditation 

·         Secured funding and began $12M Replacement of entire self-contained-breathing-apparatus infrastructure.

·         Secured over $3.7 million of  funding to replace the entire defibrillator fleet

·         Secured funding to implement the PulsePoint app – 1st in NCR

·         Established Mobile Integrated Health program – 1st in NCR, only 2nd certified program in state of MD (Queen Anne Co).

·         Established the M.H. Jim Estepp Leadership Academy

·         Built and opened new Brandywine Community Fire/EMS Station

·         Recently broke ground on two new Fire/EMS Stations - Shady Glen and Oxon Hill

·         New Public Safety Pier project at National Harbor

·         Formed Community Advisory Council

·         Established Adopt-A-Neighborhood program, where businesses contribute to the purchase of smoke alarms and CO detectors - over $60,000 raised to date. Nationally recognized, award winning program (NACO) 

·         Formed Fire & EMS Foundation

·         Implemented system-wide Mobile-Data-Terminal use and Automatic Vehicle Locator dispatch protocols – both supporting measurable reductions in critical service delivery times

·         Initiated first Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating in over 20 years 

- downgraded in urban 
- upgraded in rural tier
- downfalls; training records (purchased Target Solutions); ability to guarantee staffing (improved staffing at 24, 40, & 45 - 36 on board 2/18); ability to deliver minimum sustained water flow in rural tier (moved tanker to 40, purchased super-pumper)
- Urban improvements in staffing with 4-person minimums at 15 stations


·         2nd longest serving Fire Chief (Estepp longest at 14 years)

·         2-year Chair of COG Fire Chiefs - secured funding and regional agreement to address significant safety concerns in the Rail Operations Center - ROC Liaison has been very successful 

·         Strongly supported legislation to consolidate what had been two separated agency budgets into one, streamlining reporting, accountability and functional responsibility 

·         Aggressively lobbied for legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all homes with gas service, attached garages, or fireplaces.

·         With many others, successfully fought legislation at state level to weaken residential sprinkler requirements

·         For NFPA, traveled to Sao Paulo Brazil and Beijing China on fire service expeditions

·         Served on IAFC Affordable Care Act Task Force (birth of our Mobile Integrated Health)

·         Laid wreath at Tomb of the Unknown, with full diplomatic honors 

·         Delivered programs and spoke at various conferences and venues across the country; CA, TX, FL, GA, NV, MD, DC, as well as Veterans Administration ICS in WV, DC, & ; FL

·         Became contributing editor to Firehouse Magazine 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

County Executive Baker to Make Announcement Regarding Public Safety Leadership Changes

Media Advisory
For immediate release:
January 5, 2017
For more information, contact:
Scott L. Peterson
Deputy Manager of Communications/Press Secretary
Cell: 240-619-9400

TOMORROW: County Executive Baker to Make Announcement 
Regarding Public Safety Leadership Changes

Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Tomorrow, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III will hold a media availability at Prince George’s Fire/EMS Station 806, 2901 St. Joseph’s Drive, in Springdale , MD to announce upcoming public safety leadership changes. 

   County Executive Baker to Make Announcement Regarding Public Safety Leadership Changes

   Friday, January 6, 2017
11:00 a.m.

    Prince George’s Fire/EMS Station 806,
2901 St. Joseph’s Drive
Springdale, MD


2nd Alarm Fire at Tucker Road Ice Rink Ruled Accidental

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

Just after 3:00 pm, Wednesday, January 4, a popular community sports facility suffered significant damage from a fire that appears accidental.  Prince George’s County Firefighters were alerted to the fire at the Tucker Road Ice Rink, 1770 Tucker Road, in Fort Washington and arrived to find a large 1-story complex with heavy smoke coming from the roof area.  Firefighters searched for the seat of the fire that was extending rapidly through the roof area.

In images captured of the incident, smoke can be seen rising from the roof area with fire extending through concealed ceilings and roofing material.  

A 2nd Alarm was sounded bringing additional staffing and apparatus to this work extensive fire.  The challenging fire was extinguished in about 45 minutes.  No injuries were reported.

Fire Investigators believe the fire originated in the ceiling above the rink around a light fixture.  The fire is listed as accidental and fire loss is estimated at $500,000.

The Tucker Road Ice Rink is managed by Prince George’s County Park and Planning.  They will be making decisions concerning repair and re-opening of the facility.

Firefighters from the City of Alexandria VA, Fairfax Fire and Rescue, Charles County and Naval District Washington assisted Prince George's Firefighters on this incident either on the scene or filling in at one of our fire/EMS stations.

Images by PGFD Fire Chief Marc Bashoor

 Images captured by Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Brian Goldfeder