The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department bestowed the highest level award that can be awarded to a group of individuals that worked together for a common cause. On Thursday, May 28, 2009, Acting Fire Eugene A. Jones presented the Fire/EMS Departments Unit Citation to members of multiple agencies that worked together to bring closure to a serial arsonist.
During a six-month period between March and August of 2007, nine fires were set within the Springhill Lake apartment complex in Greenbelt, Maryland. Prince George’s County Fire Investigators, after conducting a full-fledged investigation, ascertained there was a link between the series of fires. This eventually led to the formation of a Serial Arson Task Force comprised of state, local and federal agencies. The ATF, Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, Greenbelt City Police Department, Hyattsville City Police Department and personnel from Public Safety Communications were partners in the Springhill Lake Serial Arson Task Force with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.
While addressing the award recipients Chief Jones stated, “The professionalism and unrelenting commitment you displayed while serving as a member of the Serial Arson Task Force were outstanding. You worked diligently alongside your fellow task force members, in an effort to apprehend the person responsible for using fire as a weapon to terrorize a community, endanger the lives of the residents and firefighters and cause millions of dollars in property damage.” He concluded by saying, “Your actions, which assisted greatly in the apprehension and successful prosecution of the serial arsonist, are commendable and worthy of recognition.”
Jeremiah Christopher Jones, age 26, of Greenbelt, MD, was sentenced to 97 months in prison for setting nine fires that resulted in over $2 million in damages at the Springhill Lake apartment complex.
FIREHOUSE Magazine also has recognized this extremely talented group with a 2008 Community and Heroism Unit Citation. Many personnel among this group were also awarded a Unit Citation for their work in the DC Area Serial Arsonist Investigation in 2004.
This is a list of personnel recognized with the Fire/EMS Departments Unit Citation for their role in the Springhill Lake Serial Arson Task Force.
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department: Angela M. Peden, Major Scott K. Hoglander, Battalion ChiefPaul A. Gomez, Captain Dale A. Ednock, Captain Shajahan K. Jagtiani, Lieutenant Yvette M. Virgins, LieutenantNolita K. Proctor, Lieutenant Brian G. Collins, LieutenantChristopher L. Lynge, Lieutenant James L. Sullivan, Fire InvestigatorWilliam A. Murray, Fire InvestigatorGeorge M. Grooms, Fire InvestigatorJohn D. Baione, Fire InvestigatorRobert S. Kaleda & Accelerant Detection Canine “Joy”Roxane Smalls, Special Hazards Inspector Roger A. Leak, Special Hazards InspectorDarryl R. Queen, Special Hazards InspectorMark E. Brady Chief Spokesperson/PIOCharles Fusco, Major and Volunteer Chief, Berwyn Heights Danny McCoy Volunteer Deputy Chief, Berwyn HeightsJohn Thompson, Captain, Berwyn Heights
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:Theresa Stoop, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Donald Toll,Special Agent (Arson Group Supervisor)Tom Daly, Special Agent Gregg Hine, Special Agent Terry Mortimer, Special Agent Patrick Hoffman, Special Agent Rachel Ehrlich-Ellis, Special AgentLisa Herb, Special Agent Eric Pena, Special Agent Shawn Morrow, Special Agent Ray Kuk, Forensic ChemistAmy Michaud, Forensic Chemist Matthew Farr, Forensic Biologist Alison Rees, Finger Print SpecialistChuck Kubilus, Finger Print SpecialistSonja Fladie, Investigative Assistant Robert Rutten, Captain, ATF Task Force Officer/Montgomery Co. FDGreg Der, Detective, ATF Task Force Officer/Howard Co. PD
Greenbelt City Police Department: James R. Craze, Chief of Police Tom Kemp, Captain Gerald Potts, Sergeant Christopher Bladzinski, Detective Mike Lanier, Detective Craig Rich, Forensic InvestigatorSteve Keller, Forensic InvestigatorJonathan Lowndes, Master Police Officer Tammy Harris, Master Police OfficerYoung Hur, Police Officer
Public Safety Communications: Charlynn F. Flaherty, Director Wayne McBride, Deputy DirectorJames White, Communications Specialist IIIJoel Gough, Communications Specialist IICraig Kelso, Communications Specialist IIDwayne Carter, Communications Specialist II
Hyattsville City Police Department: Douglas Holland,Chief of Police Chris Purvis, Detective
Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office: William Barnard, State Fire Marshal Joseph Flanagan, Chief Deputy State Fire MarshalMatthew Wrenn, Deputy State Fire MarshalBrian Quick, Deputy State Fire Marshal John Tennyson, Deputy State Fire MarshalTim Warner, Deputy State Fire MarshalMark Bilger, Deputy State Fire MarshalBruce Bouch, Deputy State Fire Marshal