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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Patuxent River Generates Two Water Rescue Calls

The ebb and flow of the Patuxent River had firefighters, medics and the Water Rescue Team busy on Tuesday, December 29, 2009.

At about 9:00 PM, Fire/EMS units were alerted to a boat, with occupants on-board, in distress on the Patuxent River. Firefighter/Medics from Baden and surrounding communities including personnel from the Water Rescue and Recovery Team arrived at 18299 Magruders Ferry Road and quickly located the boat. Initial reports from the boaters indicated they were stuck in the mud just South of Magruders Landing as a result of the changing tide. Fire/EMS units discovered an 18-foot boat with two male occupants, uninjured, not able to make it back to land due to the change in the tide. Rescue boats and personnel from Water Rescue Team were able to locate the boat and bring the occupants safely back to shore without incident.

Earlier in the evening, at about 7:40 PM, a similar assignment was dispatched for a motorist stranded in high water. Firefighter/Medics from the Bowie area and the Water Rescue Team responded to Governors Bridge Road at the Anne Arundel County/Prince George’s County border. The Patuxent River is known to overflow onto a low lying section of Governors Bridge Road during heavy rain and even days after periods of heavy rain. Firefighters arrived and found a 4-door Toyota Camry had stalled while trying to pass through the high water. The lone occupant of the vehicle, an adult male, was assisted from the vehicle to the safety of dry ground. The male was not injured and remained to assist the County Police in his vehicles removal. Governors Bridge Road was closed for a period of time until the water receded.

Bladensburg Restaurant Damaged in Early Morning Fire

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are still searching for the cause of a fire that destroyed a restaurant early this morning. At about 1:40 AM, Wednesday, December 30, 2009, Firefighters from the Bladensburg area were alerted to a report of a building on fire. Fire/EMS units arrived at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) at 3601 Bladensburg Road and discovered fire showing from one side of the building with heavy fire consuming the roof area. A wall collapse forced firefighters to battle this blaze from the safety of the exterior of the structure. Master stream devices on-board the elevated tips of ladder trucks were utilized to deliver large amounts of water to knock down the fire. Fifty-two firefighters worked for about 1 hour before the bulk of the fire was knocked down and declared under control. The IHOP was closed for the day when firefighters arrived. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $500,000.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fire/EMS Department Incidents of Saturday, December 26, 2009

Three incidents on Saturday evening kept firefighters, paramedics and Fire Investigators busy. Incidents included an apartment building fire, house fire and an auto fire with fatality. Estimated fire loss from the incidents exceeds $1.5 million and displaced 24 families.

OXON HILL APARTMENT FIRE

Firefighters from Oxon Hill and surrounding communities battled a fire that damaged two apartment buildings. On Saturday, December 26, 2009, at about 5:45 PM, Fire/EMS units responded to 538 Wilson Bridge Drive, a 3-story garden style apartment building, and arrived to find heavy fire on the second floor extending to the top floor and roof. A 2ND Alarm was sounded bringing a total of 60 firefighters and paramedics to the scene. A 3RD Alarm brought additional Fire/EMS units into the area as they staged nearby in the event they were needed. The fire extended through the upper floor and roof of 538 Wilson Bridge Drive then extended into an attached apartment building at 540 Wilson Bridge Drive.

Incident commanders declared the fire under control at 7:30 PM. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported. Fire Investigators determined that the fire was started accidentally and attributed to an unattended candle. Fire loss is estimated at $1.5 million.

The Fire/EMS Department’s Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross assisted 23 families that were displaced from their apartments. The displaced residents, 56 adults and 11 children, were provided temporary shelter in area hotels.

SEAT PLEASANT HOUSE FIRE

A family of seven was displaced when their Seat Pleasant home sustained fire damage. Just before 11:00 PM, Saturday, December 26, 2009, Fire/EMS units responded to 417 Carmody Hills Drive and found a fire on the second floor and attic area of the single family home. It required about 30 minutes to extinguish the fire that caused an estimated $50,000 in fire loss. Fire Investigators believe the fire is accidental and “electrical” in origin. The family of 4 adults and 3 children were assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross with temporary shelter at a nearby hotel. No injuries were reported.

BADEN AUTO FIRE WITH FATALITY

At about 11:15 PM, Saturday, December 26, 2009, Firefighters from Baden were alerted to an auto fire in the 15200 Block of Baden Naylor Road. Firefighters arrived to find an auto well involved with fire and discovered a deceased person inside upon extinguishment. Fire investigators and the County Police Department are conducting an investigation. The identity of the deceased is not available.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

NWS Issues FLOOD WATCH

Event: Flood Watch
Alert: ...FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE
FRIDAY NIGHT...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF MARYLAND...THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA AND VIRGINIA...INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS...IN
MARYLAND...ANNE ARUNDEL...CALVERT...CARROLL...CHARLES...
FREDERICK MD...HARFORD...HOWARD...MONTGOMERY...NORTHERN
BALTIMORE...PRINCE GEORGES...SOUTHERN BALTIMORE AND ST. MARYS.
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. IN VIRGINIA...ALBEMARLE...

ARLINGTON/FALLS CHURCH/ALEXANDRIA...CULPEPER...FAIRFAX...
FAUQUIER...GREENE...KING GEORGE...LOUDOUN...MADISON...NELSON...
ORANGE...PRINCE WILLIAM/MANASSAS/MANASSAS PARK...
RAPPAHANNOCK...SPOTSYLVANIA AND STAFFORD.

* FROM FRIDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH LATE FRIDAY NIGHT

* STRONG LOW PRESSURE WILL AFFECT THE AREA FRIDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT BRINGING MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN. WIDESPREAD
RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 1.5 INCHES ARE EXPECTED THROUGH FRIDAY
NIGHT...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS OVER 2 INCHES POSSIBLE. THE
RAINFALL COMBINED WITH MELTING SNOW WILL BE CAPABLE OF CAUSING
FLOODING IN URBAN AREAS AS WELL AS SMALL STREAMS AND OTHER POOR
DRAINAGE AND LOW LYING AREAS.

Instructions: A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP

3-Alarm Fire on Maxwell Drive will Displace 15 Families

Just before 2:00 PM, Thursday, December 24, 2009, Firefighters and Paramedics from the Suitland area were alerted to an apartment fire. Firefighters from the Morningside Fire/EMS Station were the first to arrive at 6388 Maxwell Drive in Suitland and encountered a 3-story garden style apartment building with fire showing from the second floor. The fire extended through the top floor and eventually through the roof of the original apartment building and then extended into an adjacent building. A Second and Third Alarms were sounded bringing about 80 firefighters and paramedics to the scene. One firefighter sustained 1st and 2nd Degree burns and has been transported to the Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. The 27 year-old firefighter is in good condition. There were no reported civilian injuries.

It appears that 15 apartments will be declared uninhabitable and residents will be displaced. The total number of displaced residents and where they will be relocated to is not known at this time.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are still being tabulated.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Victim That Fell Through Ice has been Located

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

A large Fire/EMS Department dispatch was sounded at about 9:30 AM, Tuesday, December 22, 2009, to search for a possible victim that fell through thin ice on a shallow Largo collection pond. After a systematic search was completed, no one was found in the water and the lone set of foot prints in the snow leading to a hole in the ice remained a mystery, until now. The victim has been located.

A 30ish-year-old male had fallen through the ice early this morning. It is not clear where the male was coming from or going to but he found himself falling through the ice. The pond is 3 to 4 feet deep and after an unknown period of time in the frigid waters he managed to rescue himself. Injured and suffering from hypothermia he was able to make his way to the bus bay at the Largo Town Center Metro Station, 9000 Lottsford Road, in Largo, where workers called 911.

Paramedics were dispatched at about 4:30 AM and found the adult male suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite. He reported falling through the ice in a nearby pond. Paramedics treated the patient and transported him to a trauma center.

Later this morning, with a new shift of firefighters and paramedic’s on-duty, at about 9:30 AM, multiple resources from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department were alerted to a possible water/ice rescue. Firefighters, Paramedics, the Departments Technical Rescue and the Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team responded to a pond near the Largo Town Center Metro Station. Personnel confirmed the 911 caller sighting of foot tracks in the snow leading to a hole in the thin ice of the pond. There were about 30 personnel on the scene that searched the pond for nearly an hour before determining that no one was in the water.

It wasn’t until later this afternoon that off-duty Fire/EMS Department personnel exchanged stories with the on-duty crew about their calls. Fire Fighter/Medics realized that the two calls were related. The victim transported at 4:30 AM had made the lone set of foot prints that were seen in the snow. He made the hole in the ice when he fell through. It remains unknown how long the male was in the water and exactly how he was able to rescue himself. He remains hospitalized

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Season Snow Storm - Prepared-Informed-Safe-Home

The December 2009 Holiday Season Snow Storm has Prince George’s County under a Winter Storm Warning, A Blizzard Warning and a State of Emergency declared by both the Governor and the County Executive. Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson declared a State of Emergency which requires all civilian vehicles off the roadways. Current snowfall estimates are at the 1-foot + already on the ground with several inches still to come. Driving conditions are extremely hazardous with limited visibility and most streets still with a high snow cover. Blowing snow also creates a hazardous and unhealthy environment to be outdoors.

Citizens and residents are reminded to Stay Prepared, Stay Informed, Stay Safe and Stay Home.

Stay Prepared – This is the time to bring out your emergency kit and ensure fresh you have fresh batteries for your flashlights and radios.

Stay Informed – Listen to your local TV and radio stations for updated storm information. Access information on the internet. The Fire/EMS Department can be found at www.twitter.com/pgfdpio or at www.pgfdnews.com.

Stay Safe – Have a working smoke alarm, give space heaters space (at least 3-feet from anything combustible), use only seasoned logs in your chimney never leave cooking unattended and in the event you lose power – use flashlights instead of candles. Fire/EMS response will be slower during these extreme weather conditions – call 911 at the first indication of an emergency.

Stay Home – A State of Emergency has been declared – driving conditions are extremely dangerous. Enjoy the day at home and stay off the roads.

When you are allowed to drive – be careful, drive slow and look out for pedestrians that will use the roadways if sidewalks are not passable and children at play.

It has long been known that shoveling snow is an extremely strenuous task and has been known to cause heart attacks among those taking on the task. Many people underestimate just how strenuous shoveling snow can be. Cold temperatures can increase the viscosity, or thickness, of circulating blood. When combined with physical exertion, this increase in blood viscosity can raise the risks for clotting and heart attack. If you already have heart disease, shoveling can put you at even higher risk for cardiac complications.

The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer the following advice in regards to shoveling snow:

If you have a history of heart problems, don’t shovel snow
If you are over age 40 and overweight, have high blood pressure, smoke or lead a sedentary lifestyle, check with your doctor even before lifting a shovel this winter.
Be a good neighbor. Visit your senior citizen neighbors and shovel their walk for them.
While your at it – clear the snow from around your fire hydrant!!!

If you do shovel snow here are some tips to make shoveling safer:

Always remember to dress warmly. You may be working up a sweat, but that doesn't mean you're immune to the effects of the cold.
There is no need to complete the task at one time. Take breaks every 15 minutes.
Go inside for some hot chocolate, but don't drink coffee. The caffeine may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict, just like smoking does.
Keep hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
And most importantly, know the warning signs of a heart attack. These may include chest pain, shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; or shortness of breath. And if you think you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Everyone should:

Learn CPR and how to use an AED
Immediate notification to 911 when conditions warrant
Ask if there is an AED available and use it
For information on CPR classes contact the Fire/EMS Department CPR Hotline at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Samaritans Save Beltway Crash Victim




A 27-year-old female can celebrate the Holiday Season this year because a host of Good Samaritans came to her aide and pulled her from her burning Jeep Wrangler. At about 8:45 AM, Wednesday, December 16, 2009, a multi-vehicle crash occurred on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway (Route 495) between Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) and Interstate 95 in College Park. A tractor trailer rear-ended the Jeep Wrangler which continued to travel about 75 yards from point of impact. The collision caused significant damage to the rear of the Jeep and ruptured the vehicles fuel tank. The female driver was dazed and unable to get out of the vehicle due to her foot being stuck underneath the gas/brake pedal and the vehicle doors could not be opened as a result of the crash damage. The rear end of the Jeep then erupted with flames.

Several Good Samaritans saw the vehicle catch on fire and went to assist the occupant. One civilian rescuer tried to knock the fire down with an extinguisher as others jumped onto the vehicles hood and ripped the cloth top roof of the Jeep Wrangler. They were able to maneuver her foot from the gas/brake pedal and lifted her up through the open roof. At this point the fire was involving the rear of the vehicle; however, when firefighters and paramedics arrived they found the Jeep well involved with fire. No one would have been able to survive injuries if they were still in the burning vehicle upon Fire/EMS Department arrival.

The Jeep driver, a 27-year-old female, was taken by paramedics to a trauma center with potentially serious injuries, fortunately, non-life-threatening. A second vehicle operator, adult female, was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The tractor trailer driver was not injured and remained on the scene. The Maryland State Police – College Park are investigating the incident.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Major Promotions






Congratulations are in order for five members of the Fire/EMS Department that received official notification they have been promoted. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones presented Certificates of Promotions today to these individuals while at the Largo/Kettering Fire/EMS Station #846. The promotions included three Majors and two Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenants.

Promoted to the rank of Major are:

Tyrone C. Forby

George A. Michaelides

Leroy O. Smith

Promoted to the rank of Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant are:

Andrew K. Pantelis

Timothy “Gus” Yates

Friday, December 11, 2009

HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY AND INJURY PREVENTION

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department sincerely hopes for all citizens and residents to enjoy a festive and fire safe Holiday Season. Traditionally, this is a time of the year when families and friends gather for food, fun, and festivities in celebration of the season. Over the years, the Fire/EMS Department has seen joyous occasions turn quickly into tragedies. The Holiday Season should not negate the practice of good, commonsense fire safety and injury prevention habits. Nationally, more than 300 residential fires involving holiday trees occur annually, resulting in approximately 14 deaths and 40 injuries. “However,” says County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones, “A live holiday tree in the home can be safe if citizens and residents follow guidelines for fire safety.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about four of every ten holiday tree-related residential fires are caused by an electrical problem or malfunction. One out of every four, or twenty-four percent, holiday tree-related residential fires are the result of a heat source placed too close to the tree.

Safety and Holiday Decorations

Try to select a fresh tree by looking for one that is green. The needles of pines and spruces should bend, not break, and should be difficult to pull off the branches.

Cut off about two inches of the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly.

Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.

Choose electric decorations that are tested and labeled as fire resistant. Electric decorations and artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. Inspect your previously used decoration carefully, checking for broken wiring, plugs or sockets.

Use no more than three light sets connected to each other.

Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

Turn off and unplug all electric decorations at night and when away.

Never leave candles unattended and NEVER use real candles on your tree.

Install and maintain a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and in every bedroom.

Winter Fire Safety and Injury Prevention

Statistically, the cold winter months are the busiest for firefighters. The leading causes of fires during this time of year are related to citizens and residents trying to stay warm at home. Firefighters are concerned that the decrease in available funds to heat your home this winter might drive residents to use supplemental heating sources, whenever possible. That equates to a busier than normal season for firefighters. Fireplaces and space heaters can make a room toasty, but the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department urges citizens and residents to “think fire-safety first,” and exercise caution when using these devices. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones, stated, “The most effective way to fight a fire is to prevent it from ever happening.”

Consider using a newer model space heater that have safety devices built-in.

Give space heaters space - use a 3-foot distance between the space heater and any materials that could ignite.

Have furnaces and fireplaces clean and in good working order. It is recommended to have chimmneys cleaned and furnaces inspected annually.

Consider the gift of a smoke alarm for the Holidays. No other gift sends the message that says, “I care for you and want you to stay safe.” Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will install a smoke alarm in your home, free of charge. Please call our Livable Communities Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE.

Truck Driver Escapes Injury Despite Crushed Cab





MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

On Thursday, December 10, 2009, at about 5:00 PM, Firefighters and Paramedics responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash. Fire/EMS units arrived on the scene of the Outer Loop of Route 495 (Capital Beltway) just north of the Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 4) interchange. A tractor trailer loaded with 45 to 50,000 lbs. of lumber from North Carolina was making its way to Loyola, PA. The adult male driver stated he was travelling at 50 -55 mph when traffic suddenly stopped. The driver stated, "I jammed on the brakes as hard as I could and did not think I was going to be able to stop". The truck stopped without striking any vehicles, however, the load didn't. It went straight ahead over the cab, crushing the cab and bending the tractor in a "U". Rescue Squad 827, Morningside, was able to gain access to the driver using their heavy duty hydraulic tools and equipment. Once the door was removed, a limited medical exam was performed and the driver was uninjured. He self extricated through what was left of his doorway. He was thoroughly examined by paramedics and he eventually refused transport, against medical advice. According to Incident Commander Battalion Chief Ron Bridges; “The truck driver was fortunate to have escaped without injury based on what I saw was left of the cab of the truck.”

The load of lumber was spread across all lanes of traffic on the Outer Loop which temporarily closed the Beltway until the scene was cleared. The Fire/EMS Departments Hazardous-Materials Team cleaned up diesel fuel from one of the trucks saddle tanks which was damaged by part of the load. The State Highway Administration ensured the area was clear of debris and started traffic moving again. The Maryland State Police-Forestville Barracks investigated the crash.

Attached photos are by Brooks Howard, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant, PGFD

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PGFD Teams Up with Bowie Baysox for Louies Holiday Hope Project

Penn-Mar Shopping Center Explosion Emergency Services Award Presentation
Emergency Services Award Presentation for members of the
Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department
Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

On Wednesday, December 9, 2009, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones presented 49 Emergency Services Awards to deserving personnel for their actions on the scene of three incidents.

The first presentation was made at the District Heights Fire/EMS Station #826 that included personnel on the scene of an incident when an explosion occurred at the Penn Mar Shopping Center in May, 2009. Fire Chief Jones read the certificate saying, “This award is in recognition of your actions on Thursday, May 7, 2009, while operating at a natural gas leak at the Penn-Mar Shopping Center, 3400 Donnell Drive, in Forestville. Upon arrival, forty-five civilians were evacuated from stores and protected from injuries and for your reaction and handling of the scene when a natural gas explosion occurred. The explosion injured eight firefighters and destroyed five stores. Despite the devastation of property and potential for serious injuries, everyone went home. Your actions are held in the highest regard of the Fire/EMS Department and are commendable.”

The following personnel were presented with Emergency Services Awards:

Battalion Chief KENNETH D. MCSWAIN
Fire Captain ROBERT W. ROUSE
Fire Fighter Captain GRADY A. VALENCIS
Fire Fighter/Medic Captain SCOTT A. WILLIAMS
Fire Fighter/Medic Captain JOHN A. MACK
Fire Fighter Lieutenant RICHARD W. ANDERSON
Fire Fighter/Medic Technician CARLTON A. ARCHER
Fire Fighter/Medic Technician SHAUN P. DUPPINS
Fire Fighter/Medic Technician ERNEST S. LINDQVIST
Fire Fighter/Medic ANTWAN D. HOLBERT
Fire Fighter/Medic JULIUS W. LIPSCOMB III
Fire Fighter/Medic JOSEPH W. KRAKOSKY
Fire Fighter/Medic AMIR L. BARNES
Fire Fighter/Medic CHRISTINE L. BURLEY
Fire Fighter/Medic GERALD A. DESHIELDS
Fire Fighter/Medic Captain JOHN L. GATLAND
Fire Fighter/Medic MICHAEL S. WILLIAMS
Fire Fighter/Medic WILLIAM B. DESCUTNER
Fire Fighter/Medic RACHEL M. EDNEY
Fire Fighter CURK M. SMART
Fire Fighter KELLI D. KIVETT
Volunteer Fire Fighter BRYAN PURNELL
Volunteer Fire Fighter GREG POWELL
Volunteer Fire Fighter ANDREW YANG

Fire Chief Jones presented Emergency Service Awards to several members of the Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department during a monthly meeting of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association meeting held at the Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station on Wednesday evening. These awards were for two separate incidents.

Making the first award presentation Fire Chief Jones stated, “On Saturday, October 17th 2009 at 0847 hrs, Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications dispatched Box Alarm 14-12 for an apartment on fire with people trapped at 5925 Cherrywood Terrace, which is located in Empirian Village Apartment complex (formerly known as Springhill Lake). The first arriving unit, Truck 814, reported heavy fire showing from the second floor and immediately asked for a second alarm to be transmitted. Due to the early morning hour of a weekend day, the Truck crew quickly encountered several residents who were trapped on balconies and in the interior stairwell of the first and second floors. Without hesitation and without the protection of a charged hand-line, the crew from Truck 814 rescued seven occupants from the fire building. Your actions are held in the highest tradition of the fire service and are commendable.”

Emergency Services Awards were presented to the following personnel:

Volunteer Chief Charles Fusco
Volunteer Deputy Chief Danny McCoy
Volunteer Captain James Kiernan Jr.
Volunteer Fire Fighter John Schunk
Volunteer Fire Fighter Ben Ross
Volunteer Fire Fighter David Cooper
Volunteer Fire Fighter Brian Eldridge
Volunteer Fire Fighter William Heiney
Volunteer Fire Fighter Randy Piper
Volunteer Fire Fighter Brad Badali

The second award presentation to members of Berwyn Heights was for their challenging extrication of a victim trapped by his vehicle after being ejected and being partially submerged under water. While making this presentation Chief Jones stated, “A full sized SUV had traveled off a ramp from the Capitol Beltway Route 495 to Interstate 95 approximately 100’ into a 25’ deep ravine. The SUV overturned and then came to rest in approximately four feet of standing water. A teenage male patient was trapped beneath the SUV and partially submerged underwater. The patient was only visible from the neck up. Surrounding the ravine, were several trees and a dense brush which prevented initial access for all providers. Once stabilization of the vehicle was complete, a crew member entered into the water and began to work beneath the water to extricate the patient. This was a particularly difficult task. Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin McVey, who was operating the Amkus equipment under the water, had to feel for the victim and then feel for the proper place to cut. Prior to making his cuts, he had to hold the victim away from the blades of the cutters to ensure he did not cause any further harm to the patient. The teen-aged patient was extricated and transported to a trauma center in critical condition.”

The following personnel were presented with Emergency Services Awards:

Volunteer Chief Charles Fusco
Volunteer Deputy Chief Danny McCoy
Volunteer Captain James Kiernan
Volunteer Captain Sean Dwyer
Volunteer Lieutenant Christopher Wipprecht
Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin McVey
Volunteer Fire Fighter John Schunk
Volunteer Fire Fighter Joseph Dirusso
Volunteer Fire Fighter Brandon Hool
Volunteer Fire Fighter Paul Burley
Volunteer Fire Fighter Brandt Woodhouse
Volunteer Fire Fighter Milton Harrod
Volunteer Fire Fighter Billy Robertson
Volunteer Fire Fighter Anthony Medlock
Volunteer Fire Fighter Brandon Hool

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Police Rescue Crash Victim from Burning Vehicle




MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
County Police PAO, 301-772-4710

Three Prince George’s County Police Officers are being credited by a fire official with saving an injured crash victim from even more serious and possibly even fatal injuries. Just before 3:30 PM, Monday, December 7, 2009, County Police Officers from the Hyattsville District I – Bureau of Patrol, were dispatched to investigate a possible motor vehicle crash on Adelphi Road at Tulane Drive near the entrance to the University of Maryland. A passenger vehicle with a male occupant driver had rear-ended a truck.


The crash was serious enough that the driver was rendered semi-conscious with his vehicle catching fire. The fire had extended into the passenger area of the vehicle and was about to overwhelm the victim when police arrived. Police officers arrived on the scene and without hesitation or fear of their own safety approached the burning vehicle and pulled the 60ish year-old-male to safety. Within minutes the entire vehicle was fully engulfed with fire.


Firefighters arrived soon after and extinguished the fully involved automobile and paramedics transported the injured male to an area Trauma Center. There were no other injuries reported. Volunteer Battalion Chief Harve Johnston arrived and observed the crash scene and stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that these police officers saved this man from additional, if not, fatal injuries from the fire.”



The police officers are identified as:



Police Sergeant David Lloyd, ID #1926

Police Officer Paul Mazzei, ID #2941

Police Officer Eric Southan, ID #2213

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eight Firefighters Injured at 2-Alarm House Fire




Photos by: Mark E. Brady
MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, 240-508-7930

Eight firefighters sustained minor injuries while battling a fire at a large single family home. Just after 11:00 PM, Sunday, December 6, 2009, firefighters from the College Park, Hyattsville and surrounding communities were alerted to a house fire at 7016 Partridge Place in University Park. Firefighters arrived to find a large 2-story, with basement, single family home with heavy fire and smoke coming from both floors. Using the water the engines carry on-board, firefighters were able to mount a brief aggressive interior attack on the well advanced fire until forced to withdraw to wait for an adequate water supply to be established. Interior operations commenced again after the primary and secondary water supplies were in place.
The fire was so well advanced that Public Safety Communications Dispatchers were receiving 911 calls from high-rise buildings near the University of Maryland about a mile away. The bulk of the fire was knocked down within an hour. Firefighters will remain on the scene until early Monday morning overhauling debris and ensuring the fire is completely out.

A family of five; an adult male and female and three children, ages 6, 7 and 9, were home when the fire started. They were able to escape the burning structure to the safety of a neighbor’s house where they called 911. The father was sleeping at the time and was awakened by a sounding smoke alarm. He quickly located his wife and children and assisted them in their safe escape. The family will be displaced and staying temporarily with a neighbor until other arrangements can be made.

Eight firefighters sustained a variety of injuries including burns, sprains, lacerations and exhaustion and were transported to area hospitals for treatment. The injuries did not appear to be serious. A second alarm equivalent was summoned to the scene with nearly 80 firefighters, including units from Montgomery County, working off of 20 pieces of fire and EMS units. The majority of the additional firefighters were used to relieve the initial arriving firefighters and for overhaul.

Fire Investigators believe the fire is accidental in nature and estimate fire loss at $700,000.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Firefighters Honor Fallen Heroes by Working

Members of the Fire/EMS Department particpating at the NFFF Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD

Members of the Fire/EMS Department particpating at the NFFF Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD

Tomy Baker, Life-Member of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and the Maryland Chapter of the Red Knights Motorycycle Club, has played a role in coordinating support for many events.

For the past several years, many volunteer, career and civilian members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department have assisted and supported many groups with their events such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Memorial Weekend, Toys for Tots and Wreaths Across America. This year has been no different and support for these efforts are growing throughout the ranks.

There are many, yet one overwhelming, reasons for the Prince George’s County support for the NFFF. One is an allegiance to the NFFF Executive Director, Ron Siarnicki, a retired PGFD Fire Chief; however, overwhelming support for the weekend observance is to honor the firefighters that lost their lives in the line of duty and support surviving family members.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Fire Administration held the 28th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend on October 2-4, 2009. A plaque with the names of 103 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2008 was added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, located on the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, MD. Thousands attend the weekend activities with planning, management and execution being a tremendous duty that requires a incredible effort on the part of organizers.

Battalion Chief Gary L. Krichbaum participates in the Command/Operations aspect of the weekend and encourages other members to become involved and attend the memorial events along with thousands of firefighters and surviving family members from across the Country. He stated, “This really is an amazing event for the Fire Service.” Any member that is interested in helping or attending in next years weekend should contact Battalion Chief Krichbaum as planning is already underway.

In addition to Battalion Chief Krichbaum, these are just some of the other members of the Department that were involved in critical aspects of event planning and execution:

Lieutenant Richard Patterson - Logistics Division
Teresa Ann Crisman - Logistics support
Terry Lloyd - Logistics & contingency planning
Jeff Dickey - Operations support
Tim Daly - Logistics support
Robert Small - Apparatus and Flags
Tomy Baker – Red Knights - Red Helmet Motorcycle Ride

Additionally, on the day before the NFFF Memorial Weekend, Thursday, October 1, 2009, a wreath laying ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Fire/EMS Department Honor Guard members from across the country participated in this tribute leading up to the 2009 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

Members of the Fire/EMS Department will once again provide assistance to another group that honors our fallen heroes - those laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Tomy Baker, coordinator and life-member of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. and members of the Fire/EMS Department, Red Knights Motorcycle Club and law enforcement agencies will welcome the group WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA on the day before they lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. The Wreaths Across America group has parked their tractor trailers and support vehicles at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department in College Park, MD, which is the next to last stop after a long journey. Members of the Fire Department and the Red Knights Motorcycle Club, MD 1 Chapter, greet the members and wash and prepare their vehicles for the escort to Arlington National Cemetery early the next morning. The procession of vehicles will depart the firehouse with escorts from the Red Knights and law enforcement agencies to their destination.

The MD 1 Red Knights is a club for members of the fire service, and their families, who enjoy riding motorcycles. Membership is open to ALL firefighters, active or retired, volunteer, or industrial, who have access to a motorcycle and hold a valid motorcycle drivers license.

Law Enforcement agencies assisting in the procession to Arlington include Laurel, Mount Rainier, Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and Bladensburg.

WHAT: Wreaths Across America – Welcome to Prince George’s County, vehicle preparation and start of procession to Arlington National Cemetery.

WHEN: Arrival into Prince George’s County – Friday, December 11, 2009, 1:00PM to 2:00 PM estimated time of arrival.

Departure to Arlington National Cemetery – Saturday, December 12, 2009
6:30 AM

WHERE: Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
4905 Branchville Road, College Park, MD
University Blvd/Greenbelt Road/Rhode Island Avenue intersection.

WHO: WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA, MD 1 RED KNIGHTS, FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE OFFICERS, FAMILIES and COMMUNITY.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Flood Watch for Prince George's County, MD

Event: Flood Watch for Prince George's County, MD

Alert:

...FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM EST THIS EVENING THROUGH
THURSDAY MORNING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR CENTRAL MARYLAND...THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA...PORTIONS OF VIRGINIA AND NORTHEAST WEST VIRGINIA.

* FROM 7 PM EST THIS EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING

* LOW PRESSURE ENTERING WEST TENNESSEE WILL BE TRACKING NORTHEAST
TONIGHT. PERIODS OF HEAVY RAINFALL ARE EXPECTED IN THE MID
ATLANTIC STATES EAST OF I-81...ESPECIALLY BETWEEN 8 PM AND 3 AM.
RAINFALL OF BETWEEN 2 AND 2.5 INCHES IN 3 HOURS WILL BE ENOUGH
TO CAUSE FLOODING.

Instructions:

A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.

The combined volunteer and career men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department want you to stay safe during this potentially dangerous weather conditions.
Floods begin when soil and vegetation cannot absorb falling rain or melting snow, and when water runs off the land in such quantities that it cannot be carried away quickly enough in normal stream channels or cannot be retained in natural ponds and man-made reservoirs.

Some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days; however, flash floods can develop quickly within a few minutes or hours of heavy rainstorms or a dam or levee failure. It's important to be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, in a densely populated area, near water or downstream from a dam.

Flood Facts...

Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall or a dam failure. Flooding is a longer-term event and may last a week or more.

Most flash flooding is caused by (1) slow-moving thunderstorms, (2) thunder-storms repeatedly moving over the same area or (3) heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges.
Densely populated areas have a high risk for flash floods. The construction of buildings, highways, driveways, and parking lots increases runoff by reducing the amount of rain absorbed by the ground.

Water can erode the roadbed creating unsafe driving conditions.

Many flash floods occur at night when flooded roads are hard to see.

2 feet of water will float your car, truck or SUV!!! 6 inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.

Nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto related. If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.

Underpasses can fill rapidly with water, while the adjacent roadway remains clear. Driving into a flooded underpass can quickly put you in 5-6 feet of water.

Understanding Weather Reports & Alerts...

Flash Flood Or Flood Watch:

Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated WATCH area-be alert.

Flash Flood Or Flood Warning:

Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent-take necessary precautions at once.

Urban & Small Stream Advisory:

  • Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.

    Flash Flood Or Flood Statement:

    Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.

    Flood Safety Tips...
  • Never try to walk, swim, or drive through swift-moving floodwater. If you must walk in a flooded area, walk where the water is not moving. Remember, 2 feet of water will float your vehicle and 6 inches of fast moving floodwater can knock you off your feet.
  • If you come upon floodwaters, STOP, TURN AROUND AND GO ANOTHER WAY!!
  • Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road.
  • If your car stalls, leave it and seek higher ground, if you can do so safely.
  • Stay informed about the storm and possible flooding by listening to your NOAA weather radio, commercial radio or television.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fire Cause Determined for Prima Way

Fire Investigators from the Prince George’s County Office of the Fire Marshal have determined the cause of a fire that occurred at a Mitchellville home in the 2300 block of Prima Way, on Sunday, November 29, 2009, at about 8:45 PM. The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental in nature. The fire started as a result of a malfunction in the engine compartment of the vehicle parked in the garage. Fire loss estimates have been adjusted to $350,000.

Paramedics Participate in 12-Lead ECG Program

Tim Phalen has provided 12-Lead ECG education to more than 25,000 EMS providers over the last decade and is an extremely dynamic instructor.
Over 80 students from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, surrounding jurisdictions and Emergency Departments participated in a day long instructor program for the12-Lead electrocardiogram (ECG).

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Over 80 students from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, surrounding jurisdictions and Emergency Departments participated in a day long instructor program for the12-Lead electrocardiogram (ECG). The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a diagnostic tool that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart in exquisite detail. Interpretation of these details allows diagnosis of a wide range of heart conditions. These conditions can vary from minor to life threatening. It is called a 12-lead ECG because it examines the electrical activity of the heart from 12 points of view. All Prince George’s County Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic units are equipped with a 12-Lead ECG.

The 12-Lead ECG Instructor Program was co-sponsored by the Prince George’s County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics Association Local 1619, Medtronic Physio-Control and facilitated by the Fire/EMS Department’s Training Academy. The training was conducted at the IAFF Local 1619 Union House in Bowie, MD, on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. The program is designed for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers and Emergency Department (ED) educators and managers. Participants need not have an extensive background in 12-lead interpretation because this program is presented in a way that makes the trainer comfortable with the topic. It is assumed, however, that participants have attended a basic 12-lead ECG program and are familiar with the fundamental methods and techniques of instruction. In addition to several education modules the following real world issues were covered: Training techniques, updating of medical protocols, implementation strategies, and benchmarking tools.

“We are fortunate to have a nationally renowned speaker, Tim Phalen, for the advancement of provider education teaching,” stated Battalion Chief Deann Drake of the Departments Training Academy. She further explained that, “Tim Phalen has provided 12-Lead ECG education to more than 25,000 EMS providers over the last decade and is an extremely dynamic instructor.” He is the author of “The 12 Lead ECG in Acute Myocardial Infarction” published by Mosby. He is nationally renowned for the easy to understand manner through which he presents 12 Lead EKG education.

Participants in the 12-Lead ECG Instructor Program will receive continuing education credits towards their accreditation. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones commented, “The men and women of our Fire/EMS Department are dedicated members that continually strive to attain higher levels of training so they can provide the very best service to our citizens and residents of Prince George’s County. Additionally, they will be able to use their knowledge and skills from this program to assist in mentoring other ALS providers. I commend not only the participants but also IAFF Local 1619 and Physio-Control for making this training available.”

Sunday, November 29, 2009

No Injuries at Woodmore House Fire Despite "Backdraft"

Conditions on Arrival. Heavy fire consumes the garage and extends towards attic.
Photo by Firefighter/Medic Joseph A. Gegor, Paramedic 846.

Conditions on Arrival. Heavy fire consumes the garage and extends towards attic.
Photo by Firefighter/Medic Joseph A. Gegor, Paramedic 846.


Conditions on Arrival. Heavy fire consumes the garage and extends towards attic.
Photo by Firefighter/Medic Joseph A. Gegor, Paramedic 846.

Front side of the house after the fire was extinguished. Photo by Mark E. Brady, PGFD PIO.
Vinyl siding was left to flap in the breeze after a "fire-ball" was seen blowing 10 feet out of the attic area. Photo by Mark E. Brady, PGFD PIO.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Firefighters battled a house fire and were fortunate to have escaped without any injuries after a “backdraft” occurred. At about 8:45 PM, Sunday, November 29, 2009, firefighter/Medics from the Glenn Dale and Landover areas were alerted to a house fire with a report of three occupants possibly trapped inside. Firefighters arrived at 2304 Prima Way and encountered a large 2-story, sprinklered, single-family home with fire showing from the garage. Firefighters initiated a simultaneous interior attack on the fire and searched for trapped occupants. The fire was quickly extending towards the second floor and attic area as firefighters continued their efforts to extinguish the fire. Search teams and ventilation crews opened windows to allow for better visibility and heat removal while the search for occupants continued. After operating on the scene for about 8 minutes an explosion occurred that the incident commander, Tony Kelleher, Volunteer Chief of the Kentland Fire/EMS Station, described as a “backdraft.”

A backdraft occurs when an oxygen-starved fire suddenly receives oxygen. The sudden rush of oxygen causes all of the super-heated gases to ignite at the same time, which causes an explosion. Firefighters standing at the front door of the house were blown 15-20 feet into the front yard, firefighters performing exterior ventilation reported their helmets being blown off, windows were blown out and Volunteer Chief Kelleher described a “fire-ball” that blew out of the attic area on the opposite side of where the fire had originated.

Not immediately knowing the status of all firefighters, Incident Command requested additional resources to the scene and ordered the evacuation of all personnel from the house. Paramedics tended to two firefighters that were blown into the front yard and a personnel accountability check was performed with all personnel being accounted for.

The fire was extinguished in about 30 minutes and all searches were negative. There were about 60 personnel that were dispatched to the fire.

A family of three normally resides at the house. An adult female and her young son were out of town and an adult male was not at home. The fire appears to have originated in the area of the garage with the cause being under investigation. A preliminary fire loss is estimated at $250,000. A backdraft often results in serious and fatal injuries, miraculously, no injuries were reported at this incident.

This house is located in the Country Club Estates sub-division of Woodmore. Relatively new homes that are fully sprinklered, by law, in all living areas. The garage and attic are not sprinklered and are the only areas of the home that sustained significant fire damage.
Statter911.com
The Secret List - Firefighter Close Calls

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Show Must Go On - Firefighters Make ICE Happen


Typically; when a firefighter utilizes a hydrant with the end result being the large formation of ice you would expect that a fire occurred on an extremely cold winter day. The temperatures were above normal and there was no fire the day firefighters helped to tap into a hydrant that would flow water to form tons of ice at the National Harbor. These actions occurred recently to help construct a part of the “Gaylord’s Christmas on the Potomac,” an attraction that includes a walk-through winter wonderland carved entirely of ice. To begin forming this winter wonderland attraction production crews required water and a lot of it.

The show producers had difficulty in figuring out the on-site hydrant and the configuration of the hydrant and their appliances to make a secure connection. Mr. Robert Keith from Willy Bietak Productions of Santa Monica, California, contacted several sources attempting to remedy his delimia. With no resolution and no where else to turn he contacted the firefighters at Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station #821 – D Shift.

The officer-in-charge of Station #821, Fire Lieutenant Michael Marshall, described their encounter, “Upon arrival Mr. Keith showed us his problem and we connected a couple adapters and secured his water issue. We were advised by Mr. Keith that everything works well and they have the ice rink up and running.” The firefighters took the opportunity to conduct a walk-through review of the area being utilized which is sure to attract thousands of visitors.

Mr. Keith followed-up with a letter of thanks, writing, “From all of us here at the Holiday Ice Rink in National Harbor, many thanks for you and your Stations help with the water source. Without your assistance we would have not been able to do what we do. Firefighters know fire hydrants better than Hotel Technicians. All the best, Happy Holidays.”

Friday, November 27, 2009

Neighbor Helping Neighbor - Bladensburg Volunteers Deliver the Goods





MEDIA CONTACT: Randy S. Kuenzli, VP and Chairman of the Board of Directors, 301-883-7709


Firefighters from the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad Inc. not only spend their holidays protecting the community, but go steps beyond to take part in making the holiday a little brighter for others, maybe not so fortunate.

Under the direction of Chief Matthew Fowler, the volunteers teamed up with Brandywine Costco to distribute large Turkeys, danishes, desserts, rolls and other meal trimmings.

Bladensburg is an all Volunteer department, operating within the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department combination system, answering over 5000 fire and EMS calls per year in the metropolitan Washington DC area. When not providing emergency service we are usually found asking the community for donations towards our operating expenses. These operational funds allow us to continue to provide the highest level of professional fire, rescue and EMS service available.

It is however, important to remember that we are a neighbor within the community. During the holidays, the volunteers take great pride in being able to give back to the community by helping out our more elderly residents or those a little less fortunate. It is a great feeling to greet our neighbors, to see a smile on there faces with out the needs of an emergency to bring us together. Neighbors helping neighbors. We wish everyone a wonderful and safe thanksgiving and holiday weekend. Our thanks goes out to Costco as well, for helping us bring the smiles to so many faces today.

Additional information and pictures can be found on Bladensburg's web site at www.bv9fd.com.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fort Washington Fire Ruled Arson - Investigators Seek Information




Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are seeking information about a set fire that occurred on November 15, 2009. At about 2:15 AM, firefighters from the Fort Washington area and surrounding communities were alerted to a possible house fire. Fire/EMS units arrived at 1216 Sandy Bar Drive to find a 2-story detached garage in the rear of the house well involved with fire. The fire was extinguished and investigators from the Office of the Fire Marshal were called to the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

After a through investigation it was determined that the fire was incendiary in nature and ruled Arson. Estimated fire loss to the structure is in excess of $25,000. No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Anyone with information about the person(s) responsible is urged to call the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal 301-77-ARSON (27766). Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to www.pgpolice.org and submit a tip online.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glenn Dale Crash Seriously Injures Three Teens

Just before 2:00 PM, Thursday, November 19, 2009, a single vehicle roll-over crash occurred involving a mini-van. The crash occurred at the intersection of Quarterhorse Road and Fletchertown Road in Glenn Dale. Three occupants were trapped within the wreckage of their vehicle and had to be extricated by firefighters using heavy-duty hydraulic tools (Jaws-of-Life). One patient, a 17 year-old-male, has been classified as Priority 1 Trauma (life threatening injuries) and the other two patients, a 14 year-old-female and a 19 year-old-male, sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries. Paramedics transported by ground to two separate trauma centers.

There were 35 firefighters and paramedics that worked on the scene of this incident. They were on-board 1 Engine Company (Bowie-Old Town), 2 Heavy-Duty Rescue Squads (Glenn Dale and Berwyn Heights), 2 BLS Ambulances (Glenn Dale and West Lanham Hills), 2 Paramedic Units (Northview and Glenn Dale), 2 EMS Supervisors and several command officers. The three patients were extricated and on the way to trauma centers within 30 minutes of arrival of fire/EMS units. The Prince George’s County Police Department was on the scene and handling the crash investigation.

As Temperatures Fall the Risks of Fire and CO Rise

Above average temperatures can only last so long and colder weather is on the way. Colder temperatures will mean that citizens and residents will start using their heating devices to stay warm. Along with these devices come the danger of fire and carbon monoxide (CO). Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics have already operated at two incidents involving carbon monoxide (CO) that have sent 20 people to the hospital.

The leading causes of fires during this time of year are related to citizens and residents trying to stay warm at home. An additional concern for firefighters is that the high financial cost to heat your home might drive you to use supplemental heating sources more frequently. That equates to a busier than normal season for firefighters. Fireplaces and space heaters can make a room toasty, but the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department urges citizens and residents to “think fire-safety first,” and exercise caution when using these devices. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene a. Jones stated, “The most effective way to fight a fire is to prevent it from ever happening. We need our citizens and residents to practice fire-safe habits everyday of the year.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nationally, fireplaces and chimneys were involved in 43 percent of all home heating fires and 11 percent of the associated deaths. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in 25 percent of the home heating fires, but 74 percent of the associated deaths. Central heating was involved in 19 percent of home heating fires and 10 percent of the associated deaths.
Most fireplace and chimney fires were caused by creosote build-up. The leading cause of space heater fires was combustibles too close to the heaters. Central heating fires are primarily caused by mechanical failures or malfunctions.

Winter also brings an increased response to cases of Carbon Monoxide exposure. CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion and/or the inadequate ventilation of CO after normal combustion. Sources of CO are unvented kerosene and gas space heaters; leaking chimneys and furnaces; back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces; gas stoves; generators and other gasoline powered equipment; automobile exhaust from attached garages; and tobacco smoke. Incomplete oxidation during combustion in gas ranges and unvented gas or kerosene heaters may cause high concentrations of CO in indoor air. Worn or poorly adjusted and maintained combustion devices (e.g., boilers, furnaces) can be significant sources, or if the flue is improperly sized, blocked, disconnected, or is leaking. Auto, truck, or bus exhaust from attached garages, nearby roads, or parking areas can also be a source.

We have recently seen two potentially tragic reminders that CO can be found anywhere that heat is being generated; home, work and public places. On Saturday, November 7, 2009, 13 people were transported to a hospital suffering from CO exposure after a furnace at St. Bernard’s Church in Riverdale malfunctioned. On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, a Landover family, 3 adults and 4 children, were rushed to the hospital after being exposed to high level of CO from a charcoal grill that was being used inside the home located in the 9100 block of 91st Place.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

• Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
• Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
• Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
• Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
• Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
• Do not idle the car inside garage and never use a charcoal grill indoors.
• Install a working CO alarm.

The fire service has labeled CO as the “Silent Killer.” Because the properties of CO (colorless, odorless and tasteless) make it nearly impossible to detect without monitoring equipment. A working CO alarm is the best method citizens and residents can use to detect the presence of CO. CO alarms are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores.

Fire Safety and Injury Prevention

When buying a new space heater make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory, and be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes. Or, make sure a qualified technician checks to see that the unit has been properly installed.

• Keep or maintain a 36-inch clearance between space heaters and anything that can burn. “Give Space Heaters Space.”
• Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid-fueled heating equipment inspected annually by a professional, and clean as often as inspections suggest.
• Use only wood that is properly seasoned to reduce creosote build-up.
• Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
• Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container.
• Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.

As temperatures continue to fall there is the potential for increased fires, injuries and deaths associated with heating equipment. “Every home needs to have a working smoke alarm, a working Carbon Monoxide alarm, and a home escape plan should be in place and practiced,” says Fire Chief Jones. A working smoke alarm increases your chances of surviving a home fire by about 50 percent. Prince George’s County citizens and residents may receive a working smoke alarm, free of charge, by calling our Livable Communities Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

Louie's Holiday Hope Project


BOWIE, Md. – The Bowie Baysox and their lovable mascot Louie have recently announced today the return of Louie's Holiday Hope Project for the third consecutive year. With the help of the Bowie Police Department and Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, the Baysox will brighten the holiday season for local families in need.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “We are pleased to help in such a worthwhile, community-based, effort to make the Holidays a little brighter for families in need. Our combined volunteer and career personnel from Bowie are proud to be involved once again with Louie’s Holiday Hope Project”

Fire Captain Thomas “TJ” James, Commander of the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station, stated, “Our Fire/EMS personnel are looking forward to doing whatever we can to help and encourage our citizens and residents to the same.”


Fans can nominate deserving families for Louie's Holiday Hope Project by e-mailing Louie at louie@baysox.com with the family's name, contact info and the family's situation. The team will not be able to help everyone that is nominated, but will consider multiple options to help several families. A Baysox staff member may contact the submitter for additional details or clarification, but all submissions remain confidential. Entries must be received by 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14.
The Baysox encourage other local groups and organizations to participate in Louie's Holiday Hope Project. Local organizations that would like to make a contribution to the program can e-mail Louie at louie@baysox.com or call the front office at (301) 805-6000.

Citizens and residents may drop off new and unwrapped toys at the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station, 14901 Northview Drive that will be distributed to families identified by the Louie’s Holiday Hope Project.

Car Crash Forces Evacuation of Two Apartment Buildings

Just after 1:00 AM, Thursday, November 19, 2009, Firefighter/Medics from the Largo/Kettering area were alerted to an incident that involved a vehicle striking an apartment building. Firefighters arrived to find a Jeep Cherokee had, for whatever reason, left the roadway and struck a utility closet attached to an apartment building at 69 Harry S. Truman Drive. The natural gas main was damaged during the collision and allowed release of the product into two buildings. Unable to secure the flow of natural gas at the damaged meter, firefighters evacuated apartment buildings at 69 and 71 Harry S. Truman Drive. Washington Gas Company officials arrived on the scene and secured the flow of natural gas at about 2:15 AM. The majority of occupants were allowed to return into their buildings after firefighters ventilated and ensured the buildings were safe.

A total of seven occupants, 4 adults and 3 children, will be temporarily displaced and were assisted by the American Red Cross. There were no injuries during the course of this incident. The Prince George’s County Police Department was on-site conducting an investigation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fire Chief Awards Deserving Personnel

Lieutenant Colonel Victor Stagnaro, Emergency Operations Commander, was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by Fire Chief Jones.
Major Rudolph “Rudy” Thomas was selected as the Manger of the Month of October 2009 for his work as the Special Events Commander.
Fire Captain Thomas “TJ” James was designated as the Employee of the Month for his role in the opening of the Northview Fire/EMS Station #816.
Fire Lieutenant John Lazo recognized for his due diligence and professionalism during recent changes within the Fire/EMS Department.
Fire Captain Michael Stavely was recognized for his due diligence and professionalism during recent changes within the Fire/EMS Department.
Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant James Key was recognized for his role at a hazardous materials incident at TASCO Water Works in Capitol Heights.


Fire Chief Awards Deserving Personnel


MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930



Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones presented Letters of Commendation and Awards to several members at the Department’s Staff Meeting. The meeting was held at the Largo Government Center Department Headquarters on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.

Lieutenant Colonel Victor Stagnaro, Emergency Operations Commander, was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by Fire Chief Jones. This prestigious and rarely awarded recognition was accompanied by a commendation letter from Chief Jones that reads:

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has faced many challenges in 2009. From fiscal challenges to large scale emergencies, the Emergency Operations Command has responded to all of them due in large part to your growth as a leader. As the award suggests, you have distinguished yourself as a leader. You have implemented a new patient care reporting system, a billing system, commanded one of the largest rescues in the history of the Department and operated with a reduced complement and budget.
Your actions and efforts as the Emergency Operations Commander have been remarkable. I have seen your growth as a leader and that growth has enabled your command to maintain and, in some areas of the County, enhance the quality of service that the Fire/EMS Department delivers to the public. This Distinguished Service Award is presented in recognition of the meritorious actions you have taken to keep the Emergency Operations Command operating at peak efficiency despite the resource challenges you and your command have faced.

I appreciate all the hard work and dedication you have exhibited. You are growing into the leader I always believed you had the capacity for. Thank you for your distinguished service.

Major Rudolph “Rudy” Thomas was selected as the Manger of the Month of October 2009 for his work as the Special Events Commander. Chief Jones commented, “Major Thomas’ continued display of dedication to service, professionalism and an espirt de corps in ensuring the safety and security for 90,000 Redskins fans have earned him the designation as the Manger of the Month.

Fire Captain Thomas “TJ” James was designated as the Employee of the Month for his role in the opening of the Northview Fire/EMS Station #816. Fire Chief Jones commented, “Through Captain James’ leadership and dedication, Station 816 was prepared for service and through his example the station enjoys some of the highest level of moral. Because of his tireless effort and leadership it is my pleasure to designate Captain James as the Employee of the Month for October 2009.”

The following individuals were presented with commendation awards for their diligence and professionalism during recent changes in the Department:

Fire Captain Michael J. Stavely
Fire Captain John R. Steele
Fire Lieutenant John E. Lazo
Fire Lieutenant Randy D. Ruffin
Fire Lieutenant Douglas P. Sudik
Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Eric V. Reith
Fire Lieutenant Lisa A. Viars

In making the presentations Fire Chief Jones stated, “The professionalism you display and the leadership you provide have been instrumental in ensuring the best service is delivered with the allotted resources. Over the past several months the Department has undergone unprecedented changes. These changes have directly affected many areas of the Department, and some have directly affected your area of responsibility. The ways in which you managed these changes and led personnel through it are exemplary and worthy of recognition.”

Three members of the Hazardous Material Team were recognized for their handling of an incident at TASCO Water Works in Capitol Heights that occurred on September 13, 2009. The recognition and commendation awards came about from a letter from Thomas Shriner, President of TASCO Water Works where he compliments service by Craig W. Black, Haz-Mat Team Coordinator; Phil Baker, Haz-Mat Team Leader; and James Key, Lieutenant from Haz-Mat Company #830. In his letter Mr. Shriner wrote, “The level of professionalism and compassion shown by your staff was unbelievable. I cannot express enough the appreciation we have for them.”

In making the presentation, Fire Chief Jones sated, “This award is in recognition of your handling of a hazardous materials incident on September 13, 2009, at TASCO Water Works in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Without your rapid intervention, the outcome could have been very different. Your actions speak highly of yourself, the Haz Mat Team and the entire Fire/EMS Department.” Fire Chief Jones also acknowledged the many dedicated years of hazardous Materials Team service provided to the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County by Phil Baker with 23 years and Craig Black with 22 years of service.

Monday, November 16, 2009

PGFD "GOOD" NEWS RELEASE

Administrative Assistant Kova Blake recently graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management.
Fire Investigator Robert S. Kaleda and his four-legged partner “Joy” are back to work after successfully completing recertification with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
PGFD "GOOD NEWS" RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Several big events for members of our Fire/EMS Department have occurred recently including new additions to families and graduations. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones extends his congratulations and best wishes to our members and their families.

Masters Degree for Kova Blake

Administrative Assistant Kova Blake recently graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management. She graduated from the University of Maryland University College. This degree should come in handy as Kova is currently working as the Administrative Assistant to the Administrative Services Command which oversees the Department’s Human Resources, Risk Management, Training Academy, Administrative Compliance and the call center. Kova has been with the Department for 2 years. When asked if she recommends degrees of higher learning for other members of the Department, Kova responded, “I believe that the knowledge and skills acquired through higher learning degrees can prove beneficial to anyone in any career.” She feels that a degree simply puts her in a position where she has the credentials to move forward in her career, if the opportunity presents itself.

Congratulations for Family Additions

The Office of the Fire Chief has been notified of recent additions to member’s families.

Congratulations and Best wishes to all!!!

Xiomara Lozano-Chevez, Administrative Aide in the Office of the Fire Chief, had a baby girl, Xenia, on May 15, 2009. She weighed 7lbs. 16oz.

Justin & Trisha Case (Trisha works in Apparatus Maintenance) welcomed their new baby girl – Miley Marie Case – on Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 8:51 a.m. Miley weighed in at 8 pounds, 6.3 ounces.

Fire Fighter Danielle Lewis (Station #841) had a baby girl – Aliyah Monique Lewis on July 29th, at 5:18 a.m. Aliyah weighed in at 7 lbs. 14.5 oz. and is 20.5 inches long.

Acting Battalion Chief Paul Gomez (Office of the Fire Marshal) and his wife Angela (Daughter of Nancy Terracciano in Fiscal Affairs) welcomed their new baby girl – Rachel Marie Gomez – on Saturday, August 7, 2009. Rachel weighed in at 6 lbs., 4 oz. and 18” Tall.

Acting Fire Fighter/Medic Captain John Mack (Station 838) welcomed his baby girl – Julia Alexis Mack – on Saturday, September 19, 2009. Julia weighed in at 8 lbs. 2 ozs. and is 21 inches long.

Fire Fighter/Paramedic Allen Dement (Medic 849 – C Shift) and his wife, Lacey, welcomed twins – Lily and Ely -- into the world on September 30, 2009. Lily weighed in at 6 lbs. 1 oz. and 19 ½ inches long; and Ely weighed in at 6 lbs. and 19 ½ inches long.

Fire Fighter James McDonnell (Station 825) and his wife welcomed their new baby – Mackenzie Leighann McDonnell – on October 8, 2009. Mackenzie weighed in at 8 lbs. 1 oz. and 20” long.

Fire Fighter/Medic Michael T. Brown (Medic 820 – C Shift) and his wife, Karin, welcomed a baby girl – Emma Taylor Brown – on October 20, 2009. Emma weighed in at 8 lbs. 12 oz.

Fire Fighter/Medic Adam Sennett (Station 825 – B Shift) and his wife, Dana, welcomed a baby boy – Max Christopher Sennett – on October 28, 2009. Max weighed in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and is 20” long.

Accelerant Detection Team Recertified

Canine “Joy” and handler can be found sniffing possible crime scenes again and helping to determine the presence of accelerants. Fire Investigator Robert S. Kaleda and his four-legged partner “Joy” are back to work after successfully completing recertification with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “Joy” is an 8 year old Golden Retriever accelerant detection canine (ADC) that has been Fire Investigator Kaleda’s partner since 2004. All ATF ADC teams are recertified on a yearly basis.