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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Battalion Chief Reilly is Employee of the Month

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones is pleased to announce that Fire Fighter/Medic Battalion Chief Kevin T. Reilly has been selected as the Fire/EMS Department Employee of the Month. Battalion Chief Reilly was presented with a certificate during a ceremony in the Fire Chief’s Office with many members of the command staff in attendance on September 30, 2009.

Battalion Chief Reilly was nominated for this award by Lt. Colonel Victor Stagnaro. In his nomination letter, Colonel Stagnaro wrote, “In spite of his retirement plans, Battalion Chief Reilly continues to operate with the same enthusiasm and zeal as a recruit firefighter.”

Fire Chief Jones spoke of the tremendous job Battalion Chief Reilly did in coordinating the events related to the “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition” television production during the month of August. During the award presentation Fire Chief Jones spoke of Reilly's effort for which he was chosen for this award. Chief Jones stated, “Battalion Chief Reilly coordinated the staffing needs and provided on-going assistance to producers and workers of ‘Extreme Makeover-Home Edition’ that re-built a home in West Lanham Hills. Additionally, he worked with the volunteer leadership of West Lanham Hills and ensured all the needs were well taken care of.”
Kevin Reilly is currently serving as the Commander of the Second Battalion which includes Bowie, Glenn Dale, and the Lanham area. He is a 25-year member of the Fire/EMS Department and resides in Clinton, MD.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fire Chief Acknowledges Assistance with Transition

The Chief of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, Eugene A. Jones, has made some very difficult decisions since taking the oath of office in July 2009. In order to meet budgetary constraints while at the same time increasing the safety of crews by reducing understaffed responses a redeployment of personnel was put into motion. Several fire/EMS stations would be involved and the transition of personnel seemed to involve an uphill battle.

Fire Chief Jones received support from several individuals and he took the time recently to visit and thank four of them.

Volunteer Chief Charles Aldridge and Firefighter/Medic Captain Scott Orr, Station Officer, from Chillum-Adelphi Fire-EMS Station #834 received the Fire Chiefs gratitude during a station visit. Fire Chief Jones stated, “In recognition of your commitment to the citizens and residents that we serve and to the Fire/EMS Department by assisting in the recent transition of personnel and services. Your professionalism and support helped in the challenging modification of the delivery of fire and emergency medical services within the Chillum-Adelphi communities. Your actions are appreciated and commendable.”

Fire Chief Jones also met with Battalion Chief Dave Borchardt, Sixth Battalion Commander, and Volunteer Chief Al Schwartz of the Beltsville Fire/EMS Station. Chief Schwartz committed his volunteer personnel on evenings and weekends to free up career staff to keep the Calverton Fire/EMS Station operating with a paramedic engine and ambulance. Fire Chief Jones visited with each individual and stated, “In recognition of your commitment to the citizens and residents that we serve and to the Fire/EMS Department by assisting in the recent transition of shift personnel. Your professionalism and unselfish support helped in the challenging modification of staffing within the Beltsville-Calverton communities. Your actions are appreciated and commendable.”

Lanham House Fire and Elementary School Trailer Fire

Firefighters were alerted to a Lanham house fire at 10:15 PM, Sunday, September 27, 2009. Upon arrival firefighters located a fire in a basement and had it knocked down within 15 minutes of arrival. Locating and extinguishing the fire proved to be somewhat of a challenge as “Colliers Mansion” conditions existed. High stacks of combustible material/stuff/junk piled throughout the structure hampered the usual quick actions in locating and extinguishing a fire. Despite these conditions the fire was contained and limited to the basement area. The family was displaced and assisted the Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services Unit and Red Cross with temporary shelter. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is not yet available.

Firefighters in the Suitland area battled an early morning fire in a storage trailer at an elementary school. Firefighters from Boulevard Heights, Silver Hill and District Heights were alerted around 1:30 AM, Monday, September 28, 2009, to a fire at the John Edgar Howard Elementary School, 4400 Shell Street. They arrived to find a trailer storing ceiling tiles fully involved with fire. The trailer was located about 10-feet away from the school building and firefighters were successful in preventing any extension to exposures. It required about 30 minutes to completely extinguish the fire. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation with an estimated fire loss of $20,000.

Arson is Cause of Townhouse Fire - Suspect Detained

Firefighters from the Lanham/Greenbelt area battled a townhouse fire that was the result of arson. At about 4:40 PM, Saturday, September 26, 2009, firefighters were alerted to a townhouse fire in the 6700 block of Village Park Drive in Lanham. Firefighters arrived and quickly knocked down a fire in an attached garage. No one was at home when the fire started and no injuries were reported. With the assistance of witnesses, the Greenbelt City Police Department detained a suspect that was seen pouring ignitable liquids in and around the structure and then starting the fire. Fire Investigators processed the scene and have this as incendiary with an estimated fire loss of $20,000.

For additional information on the suspect and possible charges; please contact the City of Greenbelt Police Department.

Vacant Warehouse Fire in Riverdale

On Friday, September 25, 2009, at about 6:00 PM, Firefighters from the Riverdale area were alerted to a building fire. Fire/EMS units arrived at a large vacant warehouse with fire and smoke showing. The warehouse was the former Lustine Collision Center, 4510 Longfellow Street, which has been shuttered for some time waiting redevelopment. The bulk of the fire was knocked down in about 30 minutes and then firefighters spent several hours to completely extinguish and overhaul the burning contents. Fire Investigators have the fire listed as under investigation with no fire loss listed at this time. There were no injuries.

Fallen Firefighters Memorial and Founders Circle Celebration

Members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department joined to pay homage, respect and memorialize our career and volunteer firefighters that have made the ultimate sacrifice and to those that laid the foundation to make our combined organizations the great Department it is today. On Saturday, September 26, 2009, volunteer, career and civilian members, as well as, family members and friends, gathered at the Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills to remember and honor our fallen heroes. Eleven volunteer members were added to the “Founders Circle” acknowledging that their efforts within their respective departments laid the foundation and provided a direction for future generations. There were no names added to our Fallen Firefighters Memorial this year.

The event included remarks by Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones, PGCVFRA President William “Buddy” King, Ladies Auxiliary Vice-President Jennifer Gheen, and a keynote address by The Honorable C. Philip Nichols, Jr., Associate Judge for the 7th Judicial Court. Bagpipes were beautifully rendered by Dennis Thompson and a heartfelt solemn presentation of Taps by Captain Robert Kiker, Prince George’s County Office of the Sheriff.

The following individuals were added to the Founders Circle:

T. Weston Jr. and Agnes Scott – Cottage City Volunteer Fire Department
Frederick J. Robinson – Mount Rainier Volunteer Fire Department
William “Buzz” Duvall – Branchville Volunteer Fire Department
Ida Mae DeMarr – Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department
Clair M. Loughmiller, Sr. – Morningside Volunteer Fire Department
Edward Flaherty – Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department
Maurice Sullivan – Kentland Volunteer Fire Department
Nelson R. Alcock- Chillum-Adelphi Volunteer Fire Department
Henry W. Wynkoop, Jr. – Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department
Cecil I. Peyton – Brandywine Volunteer Fire Department

SOURCE: Individual names and Department names provided by the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association.

Remarks from Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gas Leak at Penn Mar Shopping Center Mitigated

Prince George’s County Firefighters were alerted to a potentially dangerous situation at a strip shopping center. A Washington Gas Company employee was investigating a customer complaint of an odor of natural gas near the Marshall's Department Store at Penn Mar Shopping Center, 3400 Donnell Drive in Forestville. The Gas Co. employee encountered a strong odor and high levels of natural gas inside the store and notified his dispatch center of the immediate need for the Fire Department and PEPCO. The employee then started to evacuate the store. Just after 1:00 PM, Sunday, September 27, 2009, firefighters were dispatched to the scene and upon arrival initiated actions to evacuate 13 stores of approximately 125 people. Two stores; Marshalls and an adjoining eyeglass store had the highest levels of natural gas, the remainder of the evacuations were precautionary. PEPCO arrived quickly and terminated the power to the buildings which was key to averting escalation of this incident. Prince George’s County Firefighters are all too familiar with this shopping center and natural gas leaks and took quick and immediate actions to ensure the safety of civilians and firefighters. A similar incident in May 2009 at this shopping center involved an explosion injuring nine firefighters and destroying several stores.

Similar circumstances in today’s incident also occurred in the May explosion. There was a release of natural gas into the stores by way of the electrical conduit that feeds into the stores. This time, firefighters and utility companies arrived early enough and worked quickly to avoid explosive results. Readings taken by the Gas Company and firefighters detected a concentration of natural gas in the atmosphere of 3.5%. An explosion is possible when a reading reaches 4.0%

Nearly 30 firefighters worked for nearly five hours with the Washington Gas Company to mitigate the emergency. The flow of natural gas was terminated and all stores were ventilated at about 5:45 PM. Gas Co. and PEPCO officials will work with property management to determine why this situation occurred for a second time. Some stores on the end of the strip shopping center in the area of Marshall's will remain closed until repairs can be made. The County Police Department was on the scene assisting with evacuations and scene security. No injuries were reported.

On May 7, 2009 nine firefighters were injured and several stores destroyed from a natural gas explosion at the same shopping center.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Firefighters from the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department Sixth Battalion conducted training evolutions on Rapid Intervention and Mayday procedures today, Friday, September 25, 2009. The training was held at the Beltsville Fire/EMS Station #831. Personnel assigned to Beltsville, Calverton, Greenbelt, Laurel, Branchville and Berwyn Heights, under the direction of Battalion Chief Dave Borchardt, participated in the drill. The training included a review of Department General Orders and Standard Operating procedures, round-table discussion and reviews of close calls within our Department and firefighter line-of-duty deaths in Loudoun County, Virginia; Buffalo, New York and Phoenix, Arizona. Major Jerry Lamoria and Major Derrick Lea also participated in the review and discussions.

Each crew rotated through hands-on evolutions by assuming the role of the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). The RIT was deployed by incident commanders after receiving a report that a firefighter assigned to the “attack group” was separated from his crew, became disorientated and was low on air. The lost firefighters name, station and last known location were provided to the RIT. Firefighters, with face pieces blurred by wax paper to simulate interior fire/smoke conditions, followed a hoseline until locating the downed firefighter with PASS device in full alert. The RIT evolutions were monitored by Acting Fire Captain Daniel Schrader and Acting Fire/Medic Lieutenant Phil Bird. After each evolution firefighters and monitors had the opportunity to immediately critique their operations.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Firefighters Participate in "Heats On - Waters Off" Program

“Heat’s On – Water’s Off” Program
Helps Seniors in Tough Times

LANHAM, MD, September 21, 2009 every year since 1998, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Metropolitan Washington, Plumbers Local 5 and Steamfitters Local 602 have sponsored the Heat’s On – Water’s Off workday in Prince George’s County. The idea is to donate materials and expert volunteer services to help needy senior citizens make their homes ready for winter by repairing or replacing heating, plumbing and other mechanical equipment.

This year’s workday will be held on Saturday, September 26, and will target some thirty homes selected by the county’s Department of Family Services.

In a recession year, the project may be even more important than ever. “In many cases, seniors are having difficulty finding the resources to stay in their homes and communities,” says Steve Mack, President of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Metro Washington. “Especially now, when times are tough, simply having the furnace or hot water heater in good working condition can mean the difference between living in comfortable, familiar surroundings and having to go into institutional care. That’s what makes doing this work so rewarding for our volunteers.”

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will once again participate in this event by providing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to those in need. Firefighters will also perform a home fire safety inspection with the homeowner to reinforce basic fire safety and injury prevention tips.

The “Heat’s On – Water’s Off” program is sponsored nationally by the Mechanical Service Contractors of America, an organization of more than 750 companies who do service and maintenance work in the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and plumbing industry.

NOTICE TO MEDIA: Heat’s On – Water’s Off has designated the home of Larry Carroll at 4900 Lexington Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705 as the place where reporters may conduct interviews, take photographs and news footage. The home will be open from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. for this purpose. Mr. Carroll is a 72-year-old cancer patient. The workers will install a new furnace at his home, which was heated last winter only by a wood stove.

MEDIA CONTACT - Jeanne Lee, jlee@mcamw.org, 301-731-0330


Bowie House Fire


Bowie House Fire

Increase in Volunteer Applications

Beltsville Siren

District Heights Apartment Fire

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fire Prevention 2009

Fire Prevention Week 2009 is quickly approaching. This year’s theme focuses on ways to keep homes fire safe and prevent painful burns. By following simple safety rules, you can “Stay Fire Smart!” The men and women of your Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department want you to stay safe and prevent fires and injuries from ever occurring. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “While we set aside a week in October to highlight our fire prevention efforts it should be an everyday mindset of all of our citizens and residents, ‘prevention before response’.

The National Fire Prevention Association offers these safety tips to follow to help prevent fires and injuries.

Don’t Get Burned

• Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges so they cannot be pulled or knocked over.
• Have a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the stove.
• Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.
• Teach children that hot things hurt.
• Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, oven, irons, lamps, heaters.
• When using heating pads only use for 15-20 minutes at a time and don’t lie, sit or place anything on the pad.

Just Right?

• To avoid scalds, set the thermostat setting in your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees F.
• Remember young children and older adults skin burns more easily.
• Consider having “anti-scald” devices on tub faucets and shower heads to prevent scalds.
• Test the water before placing a child or yourself in the tub.
• Never leave young children alone in the tub, shower or near a sink.
• Be careful about scalding water. The water should feel warm, not hot. Before you put your child in the tub, test the temperature with your wrist, elbow, or the back of your hand. Don't rely on a tub with a temperature indicator, such as a drain plug that changes color to indicate too hot, too cold, and just right. If you're using a thermometer with a read-out, infant bath water should be no more than 100 degrees. Even when using a thermometer use your wrist, elbow, or the back of your hand as your main guide.

Cool a Burn

• Treat a burn right away. Put it in cool water for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth.
• If the burn is bigger than your fist or if you have any questions, get medical help right away.
• Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry and metal from the burned areas.
Cooking with Caution
• The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
• Pay attention to what you are cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
• When you are simmering, boiling, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you.
• If you must leave the room even for a short time, turn off the stove.
• If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible.
• Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove.
• When you cook, wear clothing with tight-fitting or short sleeves.
• Allow food cooked in a microwave oven to cool for a few minutes before you take it out.
• Open microwaved food slowly. Hot steam from the container can cause burns.

The Heat is On

• Have a 3 foot kid-free zone around open fires and heaters.
• Use a fireplace screen to keep sparks inside the fireplace.
• Turn portable space heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
• Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least 3 feet from heaters.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
• Make sure your portable space heater has an auto shut-off so if it is tipped over, it will shut off.
• Have your chimneys cleaned and inspected before each heating season.

Take it Outside

• Ask smokers to smoke outside.
• Give smokers deep, sturdy ashtrays.
• Never smoke if you are tired, have taken medicine, drugs, or alcohol that makes you sleepy.
• Keep smoking materials away from things that can burn, like bedding, furniture, and clothing.

Stay Grounded

• Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, such as lamp shades, bedding, curtains, and clothing.
• Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords.
• Use extension cords for temporary wiring only. Consider having additional circuits or receptacles added by a qualified electrician.
• If you have young children in your home have tamper-resistant electrical receptacles.
• Call a qualified electrician or landlord if you have recurring problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, discolored or warm wall outlets, flickering lights or a burning or rubbery small coming form an appliance.
Neighborhood Watch
• With the economic downturn, it is important to keep a watchful eye on your neighborhood. Encourage your community to implement an anti-arson program.
• Keep trash from collecting on your property.
• Remove abandoned vehicles from your property.
• Remove dead branches that could be used as a fuel source.

Fire-Safety Basics

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
• For best protection use both photoelectric and ionization technology. You can use individual ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or combination units that contain both technologies in the same unit.
• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
• Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
• Make sure everyone can hear the sound of the smoke alarms.
• Have a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year.
• When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out.
• If you are building or remodeling your home, consider a home fire sprinkler system which, by law, may be required in Prince George’s County.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will provide and install a smoke alarm in your house, free of charge, by contacting our Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233) or by going to the Fire/EMS Department Home Page at
www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/FireEMS/ and click on the link for a free smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are being provided free of charge thanks to a donation from PEPCO.

There are a number of open houses and other events occurring during the month of October throughout Prince George’s County. We invite you to stop by your local Fire/EMS Station and inquire about Fire Prevention.

Branchville Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
4905 Branchville Road, College Park
October 3, 2009 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department
will be hosting their open house at Riverdale Day
October 3, 2009 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department
14815 Pratt Street
October 3, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
16111 Livingston Road
October 3, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The United States Fire Administration’s Fire Prevention Fair
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
FEMA HQ, Washington DC

Walk This Way Event – (Pedestrian Safety)
Fire Safety Demonstration
Calverton Elementary School – Beltsville, MD
Wednesday, October 7, 2009 7:30 AM – 10:00 AM

PRESS CONFERENCE – Release of 15-Year PGFD Sprinkler Study
Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 11:00 AM
Maryland Fire/Rescue Institute – College Park

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
6200 Belcrest Road
October 10, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Morningside Volunteer Fire Department
6200 Suitland Road
October 10, 2009, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Baden Volunteer Fire Department
16608 Brandywine Road, Brandywine, MD
Grand Opening – Ribbon Cutting for renovation/addition
October 11, 2009, 11:00 AM

Bowie Volunteer Fire/EMS Department
Fire Station 839 15454 Annapolis Road
October 17, 2009, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
125 Crescent Road
October 17, 2009 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Support Residential Sprinklers

The citizens and residents of Prince George's County have enjoyed the protection of residential sprinklers since the early 1990's. It's about time everyone have the same level of protection; including firefighters that must respond to and engage a fire that could have been extinguished by a residential sprinkler. Since the inception of the Prince George's County Law mandating residential sprinklers in all new construction - we have not experienced a single fire fatality in a home afforded the protection of a residential sprinkler - not one.

The volunteer and career members of this Department need to be heard on this issue. You are encouraged to join in, become involved and vote on this life-saving issue

Mobilize to Defend IRC Fire Sprinkler Requirements

Mark Your Calendar for Wednesday, October 28th

We Need Your Vote
The 2009-2012 International Residential Code development cycle is underway, and to our disappointment, the National Association of Home Builders is attempting to have home fire sprinkler requirements repealed from the IRC. NAHB's misguided effort disregards the demonstrated value of sprinklers in saving lives and reducing human suffering associated with residential fires. To protect the public and firefighters, we must once again stand tall by opposing these changes. YOUR VOTE CAN HELP US WIN.

Join Us On October 28th

Proposals to delete fire sprinkler requirements are expected to be heard at the International Code Council's (ICC) upcoming public hearing in Baltimore, MD, on Wednesday, October 28th (it is possible, but unlikely that the vote could carry over until the morning of the 29th). Other proposals considered at this hearing include recommendations to require protection of lightweight structural members. Your attendance and vote are essential to keeping fire sprinkler requirements in the IRC.

ANYONE with an interest in ICC codes can become an ICC member and vote at the Baltimore hearing, but to vote, your membership must be in effect prior to October 14, 2009. Firefighters, contractors, engineers, individual citizens, etc. all qualify for membership. If you joined ICC shortly before last hear's hearing in Minneapolis, you MUST renew your membership this year to vote in Baltimore.

Voting at the Baltimore hearing is NOT limited to government officials, which was the case at ICC's Minneapolis hearing, because different rules are in effect in Baltimore.

How Important is the Baltimore Vote?
THE FUTURE OF RESIDENTIAL FIRE SAFETY IN AMERICA MAY HINGE ON THIS VOTE. Winning the Baltimore vote will help ensure that sprinklers remain a requirement in the 2012 IRC. For 30 years, we've worked to get building codes to require fire sprinklers as a standard feature in all new homes. Let's not let the victory that put this requirement into the code last year slip through our fingers.

Home fire sprinklers represent the best chance that we have of striking at the heart of America's fire problem. Your attendance in Baltimore will help us send a strong message to sprinkler opponents that America's Fire Service and others who support fire safe homes will not yield on this issue.

What YOU Can Do To Help
Vote Against the Proposal
Spread the Word


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Several Incidents Result in Civilian Injuries

Prince George’s County Firefighters and Paramedics have remained busy since yesterday afternoon responding on several significant incidents resulting in civilian injuries.

A discarded smoking material was the cause of a fire in the 2800 block of Ivy Bridge Road in Fort Washington. The fire department was first alerted to the fire by an alarm monitoring company at about 6:25 PM on Friday, September 18, 2009. Firefighters arrived and extinguished a fire in the bedroom and bathroom of the 1 ½ story single family home. The adult male homeowner sustained burn injuries, however, refused to go to the hospital. Fire loss was estimated at $5,000.

At about 11:30 PM, Friday, September 18, 2009, firefighters from the Beltsville area were alerted to a house fire. Fire/EMS units responded to the 5400 block of Odell Road and discovered a working fire in the basement of a 2-story vacant single family home. The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $10,000.

At about 12:30 AM, Saturday, September 19, 2009, firefighters from the Mount Rainier area were alerted to a house fire in the 4100 block of 33rd Street. Fire/EMS units arrived to find a 1-story single family home with a fire in the living room. An adult female occupant, approximately 60 years-of-age, sustained 1st and 2nd degree burns to her upper body and was transported to a burn unit. She is expected to survive her injuries. Fire Investigators stated the cause of the fire remains under investigation and estimated fire loss at $30,000.

At about 2:30 AM, Saturday, September 19, 2009, firefighters from the Capitol Heights area responded to a house fire in the 800 block of Kayak Avenue. Upon arrival firefighters extinguished a fire inside the 1-story home and discovered the body of a deceased person. A joint investigation between the Prince George’s County Police Department and Fire Investigators is currently underway. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire loss is estimated at $10,000. An autopsy will be required to determine the cause of death and identity. While this is a joint investigation, the County Police Department will take the lead in releasing any additional information about this incident.

Just before 3:00 AM, Saturday, September 19, 2009, firefighters and paramedics from the College Park and Beltsville areas responded to a motor vehicle crash. Fire/EMS units located a single vehicle crash on the ramp from the inner-loop of the Beltway to go North on to Route 95. The vehicle left the roadway and into a wooded area and ended up in a collection pond. A teen-aged victim was partially ejected and was trapped underneath the vehicle partially submerged in water. An extrication of the victim was performed by the heavy-duty rescue squad from Berwyn Heights. The teen-aged male was treated by paramedics on the scene and was flown to a Trauma Center by a Maryland State Police Helicopter. The victim sustained potentially life threatening injuries and at time of transport was in critical condition. A second passenger in the vehicle was not injured and refused any treatment or transport.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Apartment Fire Forces Day Care Evacuation and Displaces Family

Prince George’s County Firefighters handled an apartment fire that involved the evacuation of a day care center. At about 10:30 AM, Friday, September 18, 2009, firefighters and paramedics from the District Heights area responded to 6912 Walker Mill Road, a 4-story garden style apartment building in the Capital Courts complex. Upon arrival, heavy smoke was coming from a top-floor apartment window. The building, including a terrace-level day care center, was evacuated prior to the Fire Departments arrival.

There were 30 firefighters/medics operating on the scene and had the fire contained and extinguished with 7 minutes of their arrival. The cause of the fire is under investigation with an area of origin being a hallway closet. Fire loss is estimated at $25,000. There were no injuries. The apartment of origin is uninhabitable and the residents will be displaced and relocated to another unit within the complex.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Firefighters Rescue Man From Precarious Crash Location

Prince George’s County Firefighters effected the rescue of a man from an extremely unstable situation this afternoon in Largo. At about 4:30 PM, Thursday, September 17, 2009, a motorist rounded a curve on the ramp from Largo Center Drive to go west onto Central Avenue and lost control of his mini-van on the rain soaked roads. The vehicle left the roadway jumping the curb and sped down a steep 40-foot embankment. The embankment was covered with overgrown grass and shrubs which helped to slow the vehicle down. The front end of the mini-van stopped at the bottom with the front-end submerged in an overflow area of a nearby pond. The 50ish-year-old Ellicott City man remained in the vehicle fearing any movement may cause the wobbly van to fall deeper into the unknown depths of the water.

There were about 40 firefighters, paramedics, water rescue and technical rescue personnel that responded on this incident. The Technical Rescue Team (TRT) established a rescue system of ropes, pulleys and anchors. The TRT lowered firefighters, wearing safety harnesses, down the embankment. When firefighters reached the bottom they stabilized the vehicle to prevent any movement from its precarious position. Firefighters made patient contact at about 5:15 PM. The man was assessed and significant injuries were ruled out. He was placed into a safety harness, removed from the vehicle and was assisted up the hill with the rescue system that had been established.

Paramedics evaluated the man and transported him to an area hospital for treatment of pain in his leg, which the patient thought he injured while “standing on the brake” when travelling down the embankment towards the water.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Record Number of Volunteers Recruited

An increase in the number of volunteer firefighter/EMT applications have escalated to levels not seen in decades and could not come at a better time. The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has taken measures recently to curb the amount of overtime paid to career firefighters and paramedics. Some of these measures include reducing the amount of personnel working on holidays, re-deploying career firefighters to cover other stations and relying on volunteer firefighters and EMTs to fill the gaps. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones has engaged volunteer leadership to assist in maintaining essential fire and emergency medical services while the Department stays within budgetary guidelines. He stated, “Volunteers have done a tremendous job in helping us provide fire and emergency medical services to our citizens and residents. They deserve a place within the management of this Department and I am proud to have their participation.”

A report released in July 2009 by the Corporation for National and Community Service finds that even during a time of prolonged economic recession, overall volunteering, not just firefighters, has remained steady, fueled by a compassion boom led by young adults and a wave of do-it-yourself volunteers working with their neighbors to fix problems.

Volunteering in America 2009, the most comprehensive data ever assembled on volunteer trends and demographics, found that a total of 61.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in 2008, up one million from the previous year. America’s volunteers dedicated more than 8 billion hours of service in 2008, worth an estimated $162 billion.

With the increased demand for volunteer participation in providing services in Prince George’s County, citizens and residents have answered the call and are enlisting in record numbers, a trend the Obama Administration is working to encourage through its United We Serve initiative and www.Serve.gov website.

“In this time of economic distress, we need service and volunteering more than ever to build a new foundation for growth,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This report suggests that Americans are responding to the hardship around them by reaching out in service to others, giving their time when they cannot give their money. It reminds us of the generosity of the American spirit, and challenges us to work harder to make service part of the daily life of every American.”

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is one of the largest and busiest combination, volunteer, career and civilian, Fire/EMS departments not only in the United States, around the world. Unified in 1970 under a charter form of government the Fire/EMS Department currently employs a career and civilian staff of nearly 700 and a volunteer force of about 1,100 members; of which about half participate in emergency operations. The Department responds to about 130,000 calls for service per year, of which, EMS calls account for about 80% of the workload.

The soon-to-be President of the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (PGCVFRA), Bill Smith, credits Fire Chief Jones for his vision and efforts to put volunteer recruitment as a top priority in his administration. He also wants to acknowledge the "citizen volunteers" who have applied and hope they have great success in our system. Bill Smith stated, “Our goal for the near future is to target and recruit volunteers in the communities that will have the greatest impact within their own community. An additional goal as incoming President is the recruitment and retention of 600 new recruits with emphasis on EMS in 2009-2010.”
Volunteer applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check and physical to be considered for active fire fighting and providing emergency medical services. After completing the prerequisites, and before being able to participate in some level of operations, a volunteer member must complete a 24–hour classroom recruit school in addition to an 8-hour in-house hands-on training. Within the next 18 months volunteers must complete an advanced fire fighting basic training class and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training.

During the month of August 2009, 97 applications for volunteer membership were processed and submitted for background investigations. Eighty-five applicants successfully completed this process and were approved to take a physical. According to Nancy L. Roberts, Administrative Aide for the Fire Commission, previous numbers of applicants processed were about 30 to 40 per month.

According to Vince Harrison, Vice-Chairman of the Fire Commission, the September numbers will be as high if not higher then August. He credits streamlining the application process as one reason for the higher numbers. Previously, there was an elongated process which resulted in the volunteer applicant losing interest. Now, some ambitious volunteer recruits are completing the process within 30 days. Additionally, training is more readily available and based on a volunteer’s schedule considering they may have another job or attending school. Harrison also pointed out that Volunteer Recruit School instructors now come from within the volunteer ranks. He stated, “County Executive Jack Johnson deserves credit for selecting Eugene Jones as the Fire Chief. Chief Jones has opened up all lines of communications and made services within the Department available to everyone – career and volunteer.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician should stop by their local Fire/EMS Station or call 301-583-1914 for additional information.

Work of Art at Northview Community Fire/EMS Station

As the completion date for Prince George’s County newest Fire/EMS Station nears, a true work of art is in progress. Over the coming days, finishing touches are being applied to the mosaic tile mural being installed on a front wall of the Northview Community Fire/EMS Station. Cheryl Foster and her team of artists will complete work this week on this colorful and eye-catching display depicting firefighters, EMT’s and Paramedics. This work is part of the Prince George’s County Arts in Public Places whose Executive Director, Lauren Dugas Glover, has worked with other displays of art at the Bunker Hill and District Heights Fire/EMS Stations.

The Northview Fire/EMS Station #816 is slated to open for operations in mid October. The station will have an engine, paramedic ambulance, Battalion Chief, and EMS Supervisor. Additional Fire/EMS resources are also under consideration to be housed at the new facility.

The new Fire/EMS facility is located at Northview Drive and Health Center Drive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two-Vehicle Beltsville Crash with Entrapment

Firefighters and Paramedics from Beltsville, Berwyn Heights and College Park worked at the scene of a 2-vehicle crash involving a female driver trapped within the wreckage of her vehicle.

Just before 5:00 PM, Fire/EMS units from the Beltsville Fire/EMS Station arrived at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Sunnyside Road in Beltsville and encountered the 2-vehicle crash with the driver of each vehicle sustaining injuries. A 20ish year old female was trapped within her vehicle that ended up on its side and the driver of the second vehicle, an approximately 20-year-old male, was found to have sustained less serious injuries. Firefighters from the Berwyn Heights Fire/EMS Station arrived and used their heavy-duty hydraulic tools and cutters to remove the front windshield and vehicle roof to free the trapped female. Once free, paramedics from the College Park Fire/EMS Station quickly assessed her injuries and started to treat the female for possible traumatic injuries. The Maryland State Police Helicopter was summoned to the scene to transport the female patient to a Trauma Center. Her injuries are considered serious and non-life threatening. The adult male was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with minor injuries.

The Prince Georges County Police Department is investigating the crash.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two Sunday Morning Fires Quickly Extinguished

Prince George’s County Firefighters battled two dwelling fires this morning. The first incident occurred just before 4:00 AM, Sunday. September 13, 2009, at an unoccupied single family dwelling in the 700 block of Manning Road East in Accokeek. The fire appears to have started in a first floor bedroom and extended up into the attic before firefighters were able to knock the fire down. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire loss is estimated at $10,000.

At about 7:30 AM, Firefighters from the Hyattsville area were alerted to a multi-family dwelling fire at 3219 Toledo Place. Firefighters arrived and located the fire on the first floor of an apartment building and quickly extinguished the fire. A firefighter sustained burn injuries to his hands and was treated and released from the Burn Unit. A space heater is being blamed for igniting nearby combustibles and fire loss is estimated at $60,000. At least two families will be displaced and they are being assisted by apartment complex management.

Citizens and residents are reminded to give space heaters space; at least 3 feet away from any combustible materials.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Firefighter Appreciation Night at Nationals Park

Several members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department attended the Washington Nationals game at National Park on Thursday, September 10, 2009. The game and festivities were part of Firefighter Appreciation Night and included special tributes to 9-11-01. The PGFD contingent would like to extend our thanks to Pete Pedersen of PEPCO and Steve Kerber of College Park Fire/EMS Station 812 and a member of the UL team for their genoristy and hospitality.

In attendance were Fire Chief Eugene Jones, Lt. Col. Angela Peden, soon-to-be President of the Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association Bill Smith, Major Derrick Lea, Major Steve Hess, PIO Mark Brady and Fire Technician Steve Williams.

Fire Chief Jones was on hand to assist District of Columbia Fire Chief Dennis Rubin make a special presentation. Fire Chief Rubin presented Pete Pedersen with a fire helmet and proclaimed him an Honorary Fire Chief. Pete is a PEPCO Senior Distribution Analyst and coordinator of the Emergency Services Partnership Program (ESPP) and has worked endlessly on developing relationships with area public safety agencies. The ESPP has been one of the main contributors of smoke alarms over the past five years in addition to developing public service announcements and videos promoting firefighter safety.

Steve Kerber is a long-time volunteer member and Chief Officer from College Park Fire/EMS Station #812. He formerly worked with NIST and now is a Research Engineer with Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Steve and his team from UL invited dozens of area firefighters to a game time reception in the Presidents Club at National Park.

Again, our thanks and gratitude to our hosts and to the Nats for winning the game!!!

PGFD Paticipates in 9-11 Memorial Tribute

Nearly 3-dozen members of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department joined Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor to remember the lives lost on September 11, 2001. The event was sponsored by the Port Towns and held at the memorial constructed at the Peace Cross in Bladensburg. This memorial honors the 23 citizens of Prince George’s County, Maryland that died that morning. Maryland’s Lt. Governor Anthony Brown led the ceremony and thanked the members of public safety and the municipal leaders for joining him to remember the tragic events that affected our country and claimed nearly 3,000 lives. Lt. Gov. Brown read each name of those Prince Georgians memorialized at that site. The Fire/EMS Department participated with nearly 3-dozen career and volunteer members of the Department including Fire Chief Eugene Jones, Lt Col Peden and Stagnaro, members of the Chiefs staff, and firefighters from nearby Bunker Hill, Bladensburg and Riverdale Fire/EMS Stations.

Capitol Heights Haz-Mat Incident

Prince George’s County Police Officers responding to an activated alarm at a commercial warehouse in Capitol Heights arrived to find that an explosion had occurred. At about 11:15 PM, Thursday, September 10, 2009, Firefighters and the Hazardous Materials Team responded to the TASCO Water Works at 9209 Hampton Overlook, a 1-story commercial establishment in a row of similar warehouses. The front window and two large rolling overhead doors on the rear of the building were blown out and several drums of hazardous materials were found outside of the structure with haz-mat product being exposed and released. There were no injuries and no evacuations were necessary, however, two nearby occupied establishments were told to shelter-in-place and close all windows and doors.

Hazardous Materials crews continue their work in identifying and stabilizing the chemical products and their work will continue into this morning. It is not known at this time what caused the explosion and how many different chemicals are involved.

Firefighters anticipate there will be minimal disruption with traffic flow as this location is located at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stay in Touch with PGFD

News and information about your Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is easily accessible via the internet including most social networks. Information about the Departments history, personnel, services, safety tips, news and contact information can be found on the Prince George’s County web site at:

Departmental Web Site –


Fire/EMS Department Press Release Page – www.pgfireems.com

Social Network Sites:

NEWS BLOG – www.pgfdpio.blogspot.com

You Tube – www.youtube.com/PGFD800

TWITTER – www.twitter.com/pgfdpio

FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Official-Prince-Georges-County-FireEMS-Department-Page/109104592438?ref=nf

Or on Facebook search: Official PGFD page

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones presented the Departments highest award to agents and forensic specialists from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Fire Chief Jones presented a Unit Citation to the ATF during a ceremony at the National Lab in Beltsville, Maryland on Thursday, September 4, 2009. In making the presentation Fire Chief Jones stated, “This case was made through the diligence and teamwork of a very talented group, including agents from the ATF and the personnel that work with forensic evidence.”

The ATF was part of an Arson Task Force that also included local and State agencies that received their Unit Citations earlier this year.

Beginning in March 2007 and continuing through August 2007 a series of fires were set in the Springhill Lake Apartment complex in Greenbelt, Maryland causing approximately 2 million dollars in damages. Springhill Lake Apartments are one of the largest apartment complexes on the east coast and contain 2,900 apartments for rent. The random nature of these fires, within the occupied buildings, caused thousands of residents to live in fear each day.

A task force was established to investigate the arsons which consisted of ATF, Prince George’s County Fire Department, Maryland State Fire Marshal and the Greenbelt City Police Department. Investigators followed numerous leads and collected evidence for laboratory analysis. As a result of their investigative efforts, a resident, Jeremiah Jones (21 years of age) was identified as a possible suspect. Jones lived with his parents in the Springhill Lake Apartments adjacent to the cluster of fires.

The task force quickly established surveillance (both mobile and video) of Jones and the exterior of his apartment building in an effort to obtain additional evidence and determine if Jones was, in fact, responsible for the fires. In addition, the ATF Forensic Science Laboratory conducted extensive forensic analysis of the numerous items of evidence recovered from the various fires. This analysis included DNA, trace, fingerprint and fire debris analysis.

On August 14, 2008, Jeremiah Jones pled guilty in U.S. District Court, Greenbelt, Maryland to nine (9) counts of arson relating to the fires in Springhill Lake Apartments in violation of 18 USC, Section 844(i). On April 2, 2009, Jones was sentenced by Judge Alexander Williams to 96 months imprisonment followed by 36 months of supervised released.


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano met with Prince George’s County officials and municipal leaders at an event hosted by the City of Laurel to highlight Preparedness Month.

The event took place Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at Scotchtown Hills Elementary School in Laurel, Md., where Secretary Napolitano participated in President Obama’s My Education, My Future initiative by visiting students and listening to the President’s remarks encouraging them to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning. While addressing county and municipal leaders at a press conference after the Presidents televised address, Secretary Napolitano mentioned the importance of first responders and acknowledged the presence of firefighters and police officers at the preparedness event.

Secretary Napolitano, City of Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones and other public safety leaders participated in preparedness training activities with students highlighting the importance of disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The Fire/EMS Department was well represented with volunteer and career firefighters/medics from both Laurel stations, Bomb Squad display and a Fire Safety-House on Wheels demonstration by members from Community Outreach.

Theses events and displays are part of September’s National Preparedness Month, during which Secretary Napolitano is encouraging citizens around the country to focus on becoming better prepared for and more resilient in the face of emergencies of all kinds.

DHS Citizen Corps, part of FEMA’s Community Preparedness Division, is a community-based initiative to bring government and community leaders together to involve citizens and organizations in all-hazards emergency preparedness, planning, mitigation, response and recovery.

For more information about Citizen Corps, visit www.citizencorps.gov. To learn more about the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, visit www.pgfireems.com.