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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