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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Highly Decorated Fire Major Retires

After 26 years of dedicated services, one of the most highly decorated members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is retiring. Major Victor N. Ferreira, Jr. has announced his intentions to retire at the end of March 2009. Major Ferreira, who currently serves as a Commander of the Fire/EMS Training Academy, has previously been awarded two medals of valor—a Gold Medal for his attempts in rescuing a family during a house fire, and a Bronze Medal for his skillful operation of the bomb squad robot during a barricade of a murder suspect. Additionally, he has twice been awarded Fire Fighter of the Year, as well as an honoree in five Unit Citations. Throughout his career, Major Ferreira has earned close to two dozen awards and commendations from various governments and organizations. He is also credited with obtaining National Accreditation for the Fire/EMS Training Academy, which is now a model for fire departments country-wide that are attempting to do the same.

Media may best remember Major Ferreira for his role as a Bomb Technician during the Atlanta Olympics and the explosion in Centennial Park in 1996. He was the first arriving Bomb Technician on location, and was subsequently interviewed by nearly every local and national media outlet in the days that followed.

When asked which memories will follow him when he leaves the Department, Major Ferreira stated, “The house fire on 17th Avenue, where several family members were rescued. Although we had hoped for a better outcome of this incident, I was part of a crew that worked extremely well together and we did everything right. Additionally, I will always remember my work with the Bomb Squad and the advancements made while at the Fire/EMS Training Academy”. He concluded, saying, “Of course, it’s the people of this Fire/EMS Department I will remember and miss the most”.

Major Ferreira, his wife and their four children reside in Tracy’s Landing, Maryland. He has accepted a position with the District of Columbia Government as Occupational Safety and Health Manager.

Acting Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “On behalf of the entire Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and the citizens and residents we are sworn to protect, I commend Victor Ferreira on a Job Well Done. He has certainly left his mark on this Department, and his efforts will continue to have an impact for years to come. I wish him much success in his future endeavors.”

Fire Lt. Selected as K of C Career Firefighter of the Year

Fire Lt. Douglas P. Sudik was recently recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the County Career Firefighter of the Year at the Knights of Columbus in Bowie. The Fire/EMS Department has been made aware that he also has been selected at the State level for this honorable distinction.

Lt. Sudik was part of a crew from District Heights Fire/EMS Station 826 that operated at the scene of a house fire in the 4100 Block of 24th Street in Temple Hills on September 19, 2008. A kitchen fire on the first floor generated thick black smoke and high heat. The conditions inside the house were deteriorating rapidly and one of the occupants discovered that she could not escape with her great grandson from the second floor. A 911 call-taker helped the victim by providing pre-arrival instructions until firefighters arrived. As one team of firefighters extinguished the fire, Sudik and crew went to search and rescue operations. The couple was located in a bedroom above the room that was on fire. Sudik provided each of them with fresh breathing air from his face piece until they were successfully removed from the structure. The child was handed out a second story window to other firefighters that used ground ladders and the adult female was removed by way of the interior stairwell. After a brief stay at an area hospital that treated them for smoke inhalation – everyone was released.

Fire Lt. Douglas P. Sudik will be honored by the Knights of Columbus State Council as their Maryland State Career Firefighter of the Year on Sunday, March 29, 2009, at 3:00 PM. The awards ceremony will take place at St. Johns Church, 689 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD. A reception will immediately follow at Knights of Columbus #3413, Holy Trinity Council, 335 N. Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, MD.

Fire Lt. Sudik is still assigned to the District Heights Fire/EMS Station.

Victim Saved From Burning Vehicle by Maryland State Police

Two Maryland State Police Troopers are credited with rescuing a female from her burning vehicle this morning in Upper Marlboro. At about 6:30 AM, Wednesday, March 11, 2009, an adult female driver experienced a medical emergency related to low blood sugar while driving on Route 301 near Leeland Road.

Her car ran off the roadway and into a wooded area and caught fire. She was not injured from the crash, however, was incoherent and non-responsive from her medical condition and was not aware of the imminent danger of the fire, heat and smoke. Just moments after the incident occurred, two Maryland Police Troopers happened upon the scene and without hesitation or fear of their own safety rushed to the aid of the victim.

By this time the fire had spread from the engine compartment and was now extending to the underside of the vehicle as well as the surrounding brush and trees. One of the Troopers realized that the victim was non-responsive and was unable to unlock the car doors. Using his police baton the Trooper broke out a window, unlocked the doors, and removed the victim to safety.

Bowie Volunteer Fire Chief Lee Havens was the Fire/EMS Departments on-scene Incident Commander and credited the Troopers with saving the life of the female, he stated, “Without any doubt, the incoherent and non-responsive female would have sustained fatal burn injuries if it had not been for the immediate actions of the Maryland State Police. The fire had well extended beyond the engine compartment when they approached the burning vehicle and they placed themselves in harms way to save a life.”

Firefighters and paramedics arrived a short time later and extinguished the fire that had totally consumed the car. Paramedics tended to the victim and after a short period of treatment she became coherent. She became coherent enough that she refused any transport to the hospital and remained to assist the Maryland State Police with their investigation. The Maryland State Police, Forestville Barracks (301-568-8101) are handling the investigation.