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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Upper Marlboro House Fire - Matapeake Drive

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

Prince George’s County Firefighters were alerted to a house fire just after 2:00 pm, Thursday, October 28, 2010, in Upper Marlboro. The first arriving engine from Forestville Fire/EMS Station #823 encountered a 2-story single family home in the 2900 block of Matapeake Drive with fire showing from the attached garage. There were two vehicles parked in the driveway at the doors of the garage that were also on fire; a tractor portion of an 18-wheeler and a passenger vehicle. Firefighters advanced the first attack line through the front door of the house and made their way to the interior garage entrance where they started to knock down the fire. The bulk of the fire in the garage and vehicles were contained and extinguished within 20 minutes.

An adult male and his two dogs will be displaced and are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Department’s Citizens Services Unit. The occupant was unsure if he would make his own living arrangements or seek the assistance of the Red Cross.

Fire Investigators are looking into how the fire started.  The fire caused $200,000 in estimated loss. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
A cab of a tractor continues to burn after the fire in the garage had been knocked down. (BRADY)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

3-Alarm Apartment Building Fire with Fatality - UPDATE

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

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

Firefighters from the Suitland area responded to a report of a fire at 3362 Curtis Drive at about 4:30 am. Fire/EMS units arrived to find heavy fire conditions on the terrace level, rear side of the building. Residents egress via the center stairwell were blocked by intense heat and thick smoke and they retreated to their balconies. Numerous rescues of those residents were made by firefighters from all floors using ground ladders.

The fire was well advanced by the time firefighters arrived and extended through the upper floors and eventually through the roof. The fire also extended into an attached apartment building at 3364 Curtis Drive. Personnel were forced to evacuate the building for safety reasons as conditions continued to rapidly deteriorate.

3 civilians are being treated at area hospitals.  Paramedics transported an adult female that suffered a minor burn injury and an adult male that experienced difficulty breathing.  An adult female was taken to a hospital by family members; she was experiencing difficulty breathing from smoke inhalation.  Three firefighters also were transported to area hospitals; 2 suffering from minor burns and 1 for hypertension.  It is expected that everyone transported will be treated and released today.

A 27year-old-male resident, in what is believed to be the apartment of origin on the terrace level, was found deceased after the fire was extinguished.

A second and third alarm were sounded bringing about 100 firefighter and paramedics to the scene on-board 30 pieces of apparatus.

The majority of the fire was extinguished by 7:00 am.  Firefighters re-entered the structure at that time to conduct secondary searches and complete extinguishment.

It is estimated that 24 families will be displaced. The Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit, Red Cross and Carriage Hill Apartment Complex Management will be providing assistance to those residents.

Because this fire involves a fatality and as a matter of standard procedure; the County Police Homicide Unit will join Fire Investigators until a cause and origin has been determined.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is still being tabulated.  The identity of the deceased is being withheld to allow for family notification.

Firefighters stand-by to re-enter building.

Ladder pipe operations by Tower 821 works to knock down bulk of fire on the front side of the building.

Rear side of the building.  Terrace apartment is believed to be apartment of origin.

Fire Chief Eugene Jones and members of the Citizens Services unit discuss plan for displaced residents.

Friday, October 22, 2010

College Park House Fire - Duke Street

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

Just after 5:00 pm, Friday, October 22, 2010, firefighters from the College Park area were alerted to a house fire in the College Park Woods community. Firefighters from Branchville were the first to arrive at 3424 Duke Street and reported smoke coming from the house.

Upon entering the house firefighters quickly extinguished a kitchen fire and limited fire damage to the area of origin.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and preliminary fire loss is estimated at 50,000.
Firefighters from Berwyn Heights cut a hole in  the roof to ventilate heat and toxic smoke from the interior. (BRADY)

Firefighters quickly extinguished the kitchen fire. (BRADY)

2-Alarm Forestville Townhouse Fire

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

At about 1:45 pm a fire was reported at a townhouse in the 6300 block of Hil Mar Circle East in Forestville. Firefighters arrived to find a row of 2-story with basement, sprinklered, townhouses with heavy smoke coming from the roof area. A fire appears to have started on the ground level, rear exterior of 6302 and extended up the rear wall and into the roof area. The fire also extended to the roofs of the townhouses on both sides before being extinguished. 

A second alarm brought 60 firefighters and medics to the scene on 25 pieces of Fire/EMS apparatus.  It required 45 minutes to knock down the bulk of the fire.

Three families; 6 adults, 1 child and 1 dog will be displaced and are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Department's Citizen Services Unit and the Red Cross.

No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation and a preliminary fire loss is estimated at $200,000.
Rear of Townhouse - Photo by PGFD Citizen Services Unit Billy McNeel

Rear of Townhouse - Photo by PGFD Citizen Services Unit Billy McNeel

Fire Investigators observe damage on the rear side of townhouse (BRADY)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Employee Awards

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones bestowed three awards to deserving members of the Fire/EMS Department today. The presentations were made today, Thursday, October 21, 2010, in the Office of the Fire Chief, Headquarters, Largo, MD.

The first award presented was for the September Employee of the Month. This award was presented to Administrative Assistant Eugenia M. Mercer. In making the award presentation, Fire Chief Jones stated, “Because of your hard work and commitment, the Prince George’s County Homeland Security office was awarded the Fiscal Year 2010 JAG Byrne Grant. The beneficiaries of this grant include the Fire/EMS Department, Office of Homeland Security, Department of Corrections and the Office of the Sheriff. Overall, the grant will be administered through the Fire/EMS Department, with you taking the lead. Despite having a very short time frame to take the grant through the ARC process, you were not deterred from your task. Your determination to “make it happen” notwithstanding the challenges you encountered during the time, is greatly appreciated.”

Eugenia Mercer was originally nominated for this award by Major Darren Ware and Lt Col. Angela Peden.

Chief Jones presented the October Employee of the Month Award to Administrative Aide Teresa A. Meunier. Chief Jones stated, “You are being recognized for your vast knowledge of Risk Management policies and procedures, which enhances the efficiency of the Risk Management Office. Your dedication, evidenced by your willingness to go above and beyond your duties; and your overall professionalism.”

Teresa Meunier was nominated for this award by Major Erroll George and Acting Lt. Col. Steve Hess.

Fire Chief Jones also announced that he was awarding Acting Lt. Col. Tyrone C. Forby the September Manager of the Month Award for his leadership and fiscal management of the Emergency Operations Command. Chief Jones stated, “Acting Lt. Col. Forby has managed well during a difficult transition.

St. Joseph Community Fire/EMS Station Becomes Operational

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

On August 31, 2010, a ceremonial grand opening was held for the St. Joseph Community Fire/EMS Station in Springdale. A number of unfinished construction items prevented the station from being operational until now. The Fire/EMS Department has signed off on the construction items, received a temporary Use and Occupancy permit and furniture and equipment are being moved into the station. The new station will become operational On Tuesday, October 26, 2010.

Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “The Springdale and surrounding communities have waited patiently for this day and I am pleased that this day has arrived. This facility will not only provide fire and emergency medical services but will also be a focal point for the community.”

Firefighters Initiative - Helping Hearts for Troops

A team of Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics are coordinating an effort that is sure to make our troop’s holidays a little brighter. Helping Hearts for Troops are collecting items for care packages that will be delivered to our troops overseas. The Firefighter/Medics are looking forward to a successful campaign with everyone’s cooperation and generosity for the men and women serving our country. The Fire/EMS Team is working with the USO of Fort Meade to assist in delivering the Holiday Care Packages. The Helping Hearts for Troops are looking for item donations, such as toiletries, non-perishable food items and new, unwrapped, clothing, board games, CD’s, and DVD’s (a list of suggested items is below).

Prince George’s County Fire Fighter/Medic Nicole Hardman is coordinating the effort and stated, “Care packages made and delivered over the next few months will not only put a smile on the faces of these men and women but will let them know how much they are loved and appreciated for everything they have and continue do for us. By supporting our cause you are touching the lives of so many people.”

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones commented, “I fully support the initiative of Nicole and her team in supporting our troops. I’m confident that this effort will bring an immense sense of pride to everyone involved.”

Queen Waddell, USO Coordinator at Fort Meade, stated, “The small, ubiquitous items, people often take for granted can have an uplifting impact on the lives of our service men and women serving so far away from home. Helping Hearts for Troops goal is to provide a bit of respite and respect for our service men and women by sending some of the missing comforts of home wrapped in a personalized care package in the field or a deployment care package while on their way. It’s a small act that shows our appreciation and support for those making such a huge sacrifice every day.”

Starting on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, citizens and residents may drop off donated items to any community-based Fire/EMS Station in Prince George’s County. This effort will continue until mid-December, 2010. If a local business would like to offer a spot for a donation box or to make a donation contact Nicole Hardman at 240-417-5168 or nsolo2329@comcast.net and Katie Fisher at katiepfisher@gmail.com.

Suggested list of items to donate:



• COFFEE (Ground or whole; instant or drip. Ground is preferred)

• POWDER DRINK MIX (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light)


• TUNA & CHICKEN SALAD (in foil pouches, or ready-to-eat kits (no cans)


• CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS accepted from OCTOBER through April (it will melt in high temperatures!)

• Hot Chocolate packets, Herbal teas

• Hard Pretzels / Cheetos / Fritos / Chex Mix / Wheat Thins / Ritz

• Gum / Hard Candy (must be individually wrapped in large bags)

• Granola Bars / Power Bars / Cereal Bars / Cliff Bars

• Fig Newtons, Oreos, Cheese & Crackers - Small Packs

• Trail Mix, Dried Fruit, Granola, Fruit Roll-Ups / Fruit By The Foot / Fruit Gummies

• DRY SOUP: (Ramen Noodles / Cup-O-Soup: just add water)

• NUTS: Peanuts, Mixed Nuts (salted preferred)

• MICROWAVE FOOD (Popcorn, Chef-Boy-R-Dee, Mac'n'Cheese...)

• COOKIES / Girl Scout Cookies (with chocolate: Oct. - Feb. only!)

• Rice Krispie Treats (Store-bought only)

• Little Debbies® & Hostess® cake products

• Oatmeal Packs (Instant: just add water)

• Cereal (Small, individual boxes)

• Condiments, Spices; Sugar; Salad Dressing (no glass jars)

• Caffeinated gum or candy (to stay alert)


(Note: Some troops have allergies & need Brand Name toiletries which list all ingredients. The military issues toiletries to our troops, however troops often miss their favorite brand of shampoo or soap. Our goal is to send troops reminders of home & items they miss ... not free samples.)

• BABY WIPES (travel size)

• HAND SANITIZER (travel size)

• Body Wash, Liquid Soap, Facial Cleanser

• Shampoo /Conditioner (travel size)

• Hair Gel (for female troops to pull hair back)

• Combs / Brushes / Bobby Pins (in original packaging, please)

• Deodorant (travel size)

• Razors (disposable or "Intuition" or "Mach 3" types)

• Shaving Cream in Tubes / Shaving Soap (No CANS of Shaving Cream, please!)

• Lip balm / Chap Stick / Carmex / Blistex

• Baby Powder & Foot Powder (travel size)

• Tissues (individual packs; travel size only)

• Hand & Body Lotion / Moisturizer (travel size)

• Sunblock, SPF 45, Zinc, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera Gel

• Bug Spray / DEET / Skin-So-Soft

• Mouthwash (travel size)

• Toothpaste & Toothbrushes & Dental Floss

• Breath Mints / Breath Strips

• Lozenges / Cough Drops

• Loufa Sponges / Buff Puffs / Washcloths

• Nail files / Emery Boards / Nail Clippers

• Feminine Hygiene Products

• Cotton Swabs (i.e. Q-tips) - also used to clean guns!

• Cotton Balls

• Band-aids, Gauze Pads, First Aid Kits / Ace bandages, Icy Hot or Bengay cream

• Moleskin

• Shoe Insole Cushions (gel kind is best)

• Tylenol, Motrin, Advil or Aspirin Packets

• Eye Drops (i.e. Visine)

• Nasal Spray

• Vitamins (multi-vitamins are always needed!)


• BATTERIES: (AA, AAA, C & 9 Volt are the most requested)

• DVD Movies (new or used - recent releases only, please!)

• Xbox Games, PSP, PS2 & PS3 Games (new or used)

• iTunes® Gift Cards

• 35 mm disposable cameras

• Computer Flash Drives & Thumb Drives

• Portable CD players / head phones

• Electronic handheld games

• Small homemade gifts - reminders & comforts of "home"

• Small photographs or posters of scenery for their tents & walls

• Pens & mechanical pencils, small note pads

• Stationery & Envelopes; blank cards to send home

• Double-sided tape, small crafts kits, scrap-booking items

• Day planners / Calendars / Small, Pocket Calendars

• Game Books: (Crossword Puzzles / Word Search Books / Math Puzzle books / MAD LIBS / Logic Problems / Sudoku)

• Yo-Yo's, Dominoes, Playing Cards (new), Poker Chips & Mats, Dice

• Board games (UNO, Othello, Checkers - travel size is great, too!)

• Dart Boards (regular or magnetic - any size)

• Nerf Footballs / Whiffle bats, balls & Mitts / Sports equipment

• Frisbees / Hackey sacks

• Music CDs, Magazines & Books (Accepted ONLY at our NORTH CAROLINA BRANCH)


• LINENS: Pillow cases, twin sheets, towels (green & tan)

• T-SHIRTS: Cotton green & tan under shirts - new (Sizes: M, L & XL)

[Note: The DOD banned "Under-Armor" shirts due to its material being potentially flammable & bad reactions to open wounds.]


• FLASHLIGHTS - SMALL (battery operated. Surefire Brand preferred)

• AIR FRESHENERS (standalone-not plug-in. Car types are also good)

• SOCKS: Black, Olive Green & White (cotton or wool)

• PHONE CARDS - Pre-Paid (Click HERE for Where to Buy and What Types of Phone Cards to Buy from Third-Party Vendors)

• Gift Cards to send home to loved ones (for Restaurants, Supermarkets)

• Small toys (Beanie babies) & school supplies for Iraqi & Afghan children

• Patriotic knick-knacks, USA flags, flags from your state, bandanas, baseball hats, football jerseys, banners to tack on their walls or tents.

• Black or Green duct tape, small tool kits, dust masks, carpentry tools, Fly swatters, fly paper, mosquito netting, bug repellent in plastic pump bottles only (NO AEROSOL CANS, PLEASE!)

• Paint brushes, adhesive wall hooks

• Gun cleaning supplies (lube) such as Militec-1 & CLP

• Generic sunglasses (Ballistic, black only. No "mirror" types)

• Alarm Clocks (Small in size; wind-up or battery-operated)

• Small, portable heaters & fans (110 voltage okay)

• Fleece Blankets (Yes, it gets very cold in the winter over there!!)

• Disposable Hand warmers and Foot warmers (in the wintertime)

• Winter Hats (Yes, it snows in the winter over there! Hand knitted hats in black, tan or green are always welcome!)

• Water Bottles, Travel Mugs & Thermoses with Lids, (for Coffee, Tea & Soup)

• Coffee Makers & Filters (110 voltage okay)

• Coffee Bean Grinders - small (electric or battery-operated)

• Microwave Ovens (55 pounds max; 110 voltage okay)

• Hot Pots - Small

• Elixir & Water Purification Tablets for Camelbaks

• Combat Application Tourniquets (black only)

• Religious booklets, small bibles, inspirational readings

• Holiday and Seasonal Decorations - see our PROGRAMS PAGE for details

• K-9 items:

Dog treats, toys, shampoo, flea collars, etc.

(Note: CLICK HERE to see our restrictions and guidelines if you wish to donate items to the dogs. Thank you.)

Fire Fighter/Medic Nicole Hardman and the crew from Northview Fire/EMS Station #816 in Bowie construct the donation box to be placed in the station. (BRADY)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beltsville Townhouse Fire

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

Prince George’s and Montgomery County Firefighters were alerted to a townhouse fire at about 3:00 pm, Wednesday, October 20, 2010.  Firefighters from the Beltsville/Calverton Fire/EMS Station arrived first at 3762 Evans Trail Way in Beltsville and encountered a 2-story, with basement, non-sprinklered, middle of the row townhouse with heavy smoke showing. Firefighters advanced hoselines into the home and ensured all occupants were out of the structure. Firefighters quickly located a fire in the basement and had it knocked down within 10 minutes of arrival. There was some extension to the upper floors which was also quickly extinguished.

The family of seven that reside in the home includes an adult female and her six children ranging in age from 17 up to 24. The house and family did not have the benefit of a working smoke alarm and were fortunate to have escaped the fire without injury. The family will be displaced and are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross. No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $50,000.

Anyone that needs a working smoke alarm can have one installed in their home, free of charge, by contacting our Smoke Alarm Hotline at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke and a fire in the basement of a townhouse. (BRADY)

Firefighters operate on the rear side of the townhouse. (BRADY)

PGFD Battalion Realignment

2010 10 20 AFEMSP Memo _10-46 - Battalion Realignment -

Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Sickened by CO from Generator Inside Home

At about 7:45 am, Friday, October 15, 2010, Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station #829 were dispatched to check on the welfare of an adult male that requested his neighbor call 911. Firefighter/Medics arrived at the single family home in the 3500 block of 29th Avenue in Temple Hills to find a family of six outside of the structure complaining of sudden illness including headaches. Firefighter/Medics quickly assessed the patients as having been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and initiated treatment. Firefighters searched the home and found a gasoline powered generator had been operating in the attached garage. The generator was being used for electricity as the house had no power.

Atmospheric testing conducted by firefighters indicated that CO levels inside the home were at 200 parts per million (ppm). A normal atmospheric level of 0 up to 30 ppm is considered healthy. Prolonged exposures to CO can be fatal as was the case when three Hyattsville residents died of CO poisoning in late May of this year.

Paramedics treated and evaluated the patients on the scene and consulted with emergency room physicians that concurred that the patients could be transported to a local hospital. If the patient’s condition were considered “serious” they would have been transported to a medical facility in Baltimore for hyperbaric treatment. Two adult females (20’s) and three children (between ages of 1 up to 13) were transported to a local hospital in “good” condition. The adult male refused transportation to the hospital.

Gasoline powered generators produce a large amount of CO in a very short period of time and should not be used inside of any structure. CO is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas and is referred to as the “The Silent Killer.” CO 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 including automobile exhaust.

With the cold weather season approaching the men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department want to keep you safe and offer these safety reminders. We encourage our citizens and residents to have their heating system checked and have chimneys and flu pipes cleaned and inspected annually by a certified professional. Additionally, never use a fuel based generator or cooking grill inside of a home or attached structure such as a garage.

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.

County Firefighter/Medics Participate in Capital Shield 2011

The Prince George’s County, Maryland, Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department

participated in Capital Shield 2011, a D.C.-area full-scale (realistic) exercise to test the regions
ability to respond to a mass casualty terrorist attack. The exercise was conducted over a 2-day
period with the first day, Wednesday, October, 13, 2010, held in the County at the Cranford-
Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.

In addition to Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics, more than 80 federal, state, and local agencies exercised together to test overall response. First responders performed mock rescues, triage, treatment procedures, and practiced transporting victims by helicopter and ambulance to area hospitals. Victims were made-up to look as if they are seriously injured and have just been pulled from the rubble of a large explosion and building collapse.

The goal of the exercise is to ensure that government agencies at every level are prepared to take coordinated action to protect the public in the event of an actual disaster in the National Capital Region. This is a joint exercise conducted with Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region/U.S. Army Military District of Washington and local and state response partners.

Overall, the Prince George’s County portion of the exercise went smoothly and re-enforced the Departments readiness to handle mass casualty incidents (MCI). The University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security was on site to evaluate medical surge response and regions ability to respond to an MCI.

Images are provided courtesy of Acting Battalion Chief Kristen Angell and Denice Dickens.

Forestville Ledo's Pizze Re-Opens with Tribute to Firefighter/Medics

The Ledo Pizza and Pasta in the Penn Mar Shopping Center in Forestville, Maryland, sustained significant damage when an explosion occurred in May of 2009.  The restaurant, along with 5 other businesses were not able to re-open due to the destruction.  The Ledo's celebrated a Grand Re-Opening on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at a new location within the same shopping center.  A wall inside the restaurant was dedicated to the Firefighters and Paramedics that responded to provide assistance the day of the incident in May 2009.  The wall is adorned with firefighters gear along with newspaper articles and pictures from that day.  On the day of the Grand Re-Opening Ledo's provided free cheese pizzas to all firefighters and medics.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones and a host of Firefighter/Medics attended the Grand Opening and were grateful of the recognition provided by the dedication wall.  Fire Chief Jones stated, "That day will live in the memory of this Department forever and I am proud of our men and women that saved dozens of lives by evacuating the stores just moments before the explosion.  Thank you to Ledo's for this special recognition."

The following images are provided courtesy of Battalion Chief Denice Dickens (disregard date stamp)


Off-Duty Fire Captain Bestowed with National Award

James M. Jiron was presented with two awards yesterday for his actions in September 2010. Jiron was attending a family function in Woodstock, VA when he came across a house fire. Without the protection of personal protective equipment or a hose line he immediately went to investigate and provide assistance. He entered the structure, searched and located two sleeping men and alerted them that their house was on fire and then assisted in their safe removal from their burning home. For the full story from that day, click here.

On Thursday, October 14, 2010, representatives from the Police and Firefighters Insurance Association (PFIA) visited Acting Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Jiron at the Beltsville Fire/EMS Station #831 and presented him with their Heroes Hall of Fame Award. This is a National Award that provides special recognition to Fire Fighters for their heroic actions to save the lives of others while risking their own. Presenting the award to Captain Jiron were Mike Tersigni, PFIA Regional Manager and Christopher Cunningham, PFIA Account Representative for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.

Acting Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Jiron also received an Emergency Services Award from Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones. Fire Chief Jones stated, “Your quick thinking and selflessness, evidenced by your willingness to provide assistance despite being off-duty, likely saved two lives. Your actions reflect favorably on you, the Fire/EMS Department and Prince George’s County as a whole.”

For additional information on the PFIA contact Chris Cunningham at 410-739-7191.

Fire Chief Jones, PFIA Regional Manager Mike Tersigni, Captain Jiron and PFIA PGFD Representative Chris Cunningham.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nominations Being Accepted for Fire Chief's Hall of Fame

Fire EMS Department Hall of Fame -

Halloween Safety

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

The fun and excitement surrounding Halloween can suddenly turn to sorrow and misfortune through one careless act. The incidence of fire, accident, and injury often increases during holidays and festive events. Each year, firefighters and paramedics witness incidents on Halloween that could have been prevented had simple safety rules been followed. Among the high-risk activities on Halloween; trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/EMS Department personnel. Between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween, there is a significant increase in falls, burn-related injuries, and pedestrian injuries. Children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween. Additionally, many parties and festivities are planned over the Halloween weekend which could result in an increase in alcohol consumption with inherent dangers.

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. Local churches and schools may plan Halloween parties, or families may get together and conduct games and activities instead of allowing young children to engage in trick-or-treating in neighborhoods or along busy streets. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones urges adults to take a more pro-active role in activities on Halloween. Additionally, he reminds adults to be vigilant and exercise due caution when traveling to avoid automobile related crashes.

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department would like to offer the following safety tips so that all might enjoy a happy and safe Halloween:

• Costumes should be made of flame resistant light-colored fabric or have reflective qualities. They should be short enough so as not to interfere with walking or become entangled in bicycle chains. Use facial makeup rather than masks so children can see easily.

• Children should carry flashlights and not use candles or torches. Before leaving the home, children should discuss the proposed route, time of return, and companions. An adult should always accompany younger children. It is advisable to visit the homes of persons you know or local familiar neighborhoods, stopping at well-lit houses only. As a general rule, children should avoid entering homes or apartments and always travel with a companion.

• Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening, and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children.

• Halloween treats should be saved until children return home where adults can examine all items closely. Treats that are unwrapped, or show signs of having been opened, should not be eaten. Fruit should be sliced into small pieces and checked for foreign objects. Keep small pieces of candy away from infants and very small children, as they can easily become lodged in the throat and cause choking.

• Persons receiving trick-or-treaters should keep a light on and pick up obstacles that could cause a child to trip and become injured. Jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light Jack-o-lanterns. Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

A recent trend in celebrating Halloween has been to celebrate as groups at parties or community events. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street. With Halloween falling on a Sunday this year there are numerous additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the weekend. Traditionally, when festive occasions are celebrated amongst adults, the consumption of alcohol goes up. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offer these everyday reminders and safety tips to party-goers:

  • Never drink and drive.

  • Always wear your seat belt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well.

  • If you are wearing a costume – vehicle occupants, including the driver, should not wear a mask or head dressing as this may block the view of the driver.

  • Be aware that there are still many trick or treaters walking and crossing streets – slow your speed and use extreme care while driving.

  • Use battery powered illumination instead of candles at your Halloween celebration.

Incident Summary - Week of October 3, 2010

incident summary for week of 10-3-10 -

Thursday, October 7, 2010

President Obama Dispatches PGFD Firefighter/Medics from Podium

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Thursday, October 7, 2010

President Barack Obama made an appearance today on the campus of Bowie State University in Bowie, Prince George’s County, MD. During his speech he paused twice to direct Firefighter/Medics to locations near the front of the stage where supporters had fallen ill. Fire/EMS personnel were quick to respond through the large crowd, with the assistance of the Secret Service, to initiate care. This scenario, minus the dispatcher, occurred constantly through the event.

It was a breezy 71 degrees and no humidity to speak of. The sun was bright and was bearing down on the thousands of supporters attending the rally where the President was speaking. Attendees showed up many hours earlier and stood in line as they waited to pass through security check points and then were led into the rally area where they stood shoulder-to-shoulder waiting for the event to start.

At about 1:45 pm, the Fire/EMS Department’s Special Events Coordinator, Fire Major Corey Smedley, was notified simultaneously by campus security and Secret Service of a person down near the media area. From there on reports of sick and fainting people flowed in. The basic life support ambulances assigned to standby during the Presidents visit were quickly overwhelmed by the number of people requesting assistance. The crew from Engine 819, on standby in the parking lot, was called in to assist and immediately went to work treating patients. The Fire/EMS crews were in constant motion and additional resources including 2 BLS ambulances and a Paramedic Supervisor were called to the scene.

It was quickly determined that the majority of the people being tended to were suffering from exhaustion and dehydration. A triage area was established in the University gymnasium providing a cool climate in a large empty building immediately adjacent to the rally area. As a precaution, the Department’s Medical Ambulance Bus and Haz-Mat Team were called to the scene in the event their personnel and equipment were needed. These extra units staged in a nearby parking lot and released when the rally came to an end around 4:00 pm.

Throughout the 2 ½ hour period there was a steady flow of patients evaluated and treated in the triage area or on the campus grounds. A large percentage of the patients were senior citizens and provided with hydration, oxygen and allowed to rest in the cool environment. Paramedics monitored the patients and when their vital signs were in an acceptable range were released after declining transport to a medical facility. Two patients were transported to area hospitals by ambulance with more serious illnesses and 36 patients were evaluated and treated in the triage area and released.

A total of 18 Fire/EMS personnel operated on the scene. These personnel included:

Fire Major Smedley

EMS 801 – Paramedic Supervisor Captain Danny Hughes

Engine 819 (Bowie)

Ambulance 839 (Bowie)

Ambulance 839B (Bowie)

Ambulance 812B (College Park)

Ambulance 833 (Kentland)

Ambulance 835 (Greenbelt)

President Obama Dispatches PGFD Firefighter/Medics from podium at an event in Bowie, MD
Firefighter/Medics tend to a patient in the triage area.

Some patients required a stretcher to make it into the gym for treatment.

Firefighter/Medics were in constant motion for 2 1/2 hours

Paramedic Captain Danny Hughes and Major Corey Smedley discuss operations.

Triage area inside of gym.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PGFD Bomb Squad Renders Safe Possible Explosive Devices

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s Bomb Squad successfully rendered safe what appeared to be explosive devices found in a District Heights home. The Bomb Squad was requested at about 3:00 pm, Wednesday, October 6, 2010, after a real estate agent came across what appeared to be 2 pipe bombs in the basement area of a vacant home in the 5800 block of Kentucky Avenue.

The Bomb Squad worked for nearly 4 hours utilizing their special equipment and personnel in full protective gear to disrupt the two devices and render them harmless. Fire Investigators from the Fire/EMS Departments Office of the Fire Marshal, the Prince George’s County Police Department and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked collectively to secure the scene, collect information on the packages and gather intelligence about the case.

After the successful disruption of the devices, components were documented and collected as evidence. A substance inside the devices will be taken to a laboratory to determine if it is explosive.

The investigation into the device and who may be responsible for the construction, transportation and placing device in the house is open and on-going.

Incident Summary - Week of September 26, 2010

incident summary for week of 9-26-10 -

Fire Prevention Fun at National Harbor This Saturday!!!

As part of Fire Prevention Week, the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department will participate with the National Children’s Museum in a day of fun and interactive displays. The Fire/EMS Department will provide fire safety and injury prevention displays that are both educational and fun!!! We look forward to seeing everyone the Third Annual Jump Rope Jump Off at the National Harbor on Saturday, October 9, 2010, from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Jump Off_ Flyer 2010 -

Fire Chief Acknowledges Efforts with Letters of Commendation

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones has recently acknowledged numerous personnel with Letters of Commendation throughout the Department for their actions. Included is a Volunteer Chief that remained with a trapped occupant after a freak storm toppled a tree onto a car, a crew that was faced a challenging crash scene and a crew that performed a successful resuscitation.

  • Fire Chief Jones commended Beltsville Volunteer Chief Al Schwartz with the following letter:

Dear Chief Schwartz:

On Sunday, July 25, 2010, a severe and powerful thunderstorm rolled through Prince George’s County. It produced straight line winds of up to 90 MPH, leaving a wide path of death and destruction in its wake. Dozens of trees and power lines were brought down, and several days passed before there was any semblance of normalcy. Tragically, in the 10100 block of Rhode Island Avenue in College Park, one of the trees fell on a car occupied by two adult females. The fallen tree caused extensive damage to the vehicle, including intrusion into the passenger area.

Your assessment upon arriving on the scene of the incident revealed the driver of the vehicle was fatally wounded. However, the passenger was conscious and alert, although suffering from a large laceration to her head. In the 90 minutes that followed, you maintained verbal and physical contact with the passenger and learned that she was the mother-in-law of the deceased victim. You held the woman’s hand during an extremely difficult extrication, and explained to her everything that was going on. Throughout the ordeal, you engaged her in diverse subject matter that included exchanges about each other’s families.

It can be said with a reasonable degree of certainty that your compassion for the patient enabled her to make it through what was perhaps the most traumatic experience of her life. It has since been conveyed to me how she shared with her family and friends the story of “the fireman who held her hand the entire time she was trapped, while talking with her about his son and her family.” Soon after the incident, word of the woman’s desire to personally thank you reached our Public Information Officer. This led to an encounter at the funeral home, where the two of you spoke for some time about the event.

  • The Crews from Brandywine, Baden and Medic 825were commended for their actions at an extremely challenging crash:

On Saturday, August 7, 2010, Rescue Squad 840, Paramedic Ambulance 840, Engine Company 836 and Medic 825 that responded to 12304 North Keys Road for a reported vehicle accident. On arrival, Rescue Squad 840 performed initial fire suppression tactics in an effort to inhibit the flames, which were intruding into the passenger compartment. Upon E836 arrival, crew members rapidly extinguished the remaining flames while the victims were being extricated from the burning vehicle.

Crews from 840 and 836 performed seamlessly in an effort to extinguish the fire and speedily extricate the victims from the burning vehicle. Sadly, both patients succumbed to their injuries. Yet, they were afforded the best possible chance for survival, due to the immediate and efficient care provided by EMS crews onboard Paramedic Ambulance 840 and Medic 825.

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for the outstanding manner in which you performed your duties on the scene of this incident. Your actions speak well of you personally and professionally, and of the caliber of service our Fire/EMS Department provides to the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County.

Personnel receiving Letter of Commendation:

Rescue Squad 840

Fire Fighter Lieutenant Anthony Salviejo

Fire Fighter Technician Davis Goldsmith

Volunteer Fire Fighter Matthew Thompson

Volunteer Fire Fighter Richard Clagett

Volunteer Fire Fighter Ernest Daniels Jr.

Engine 836

Volunteer Chief Wendy Baden

Volunteer Fire Fighter Wayne Winterwerp

Volunteer Fire Fighter Joseph Addison

Paramedic Ambulance 840

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Oluwafemi Balogun

Fire Fighter/Medic James Clem Jr

Paramedic 825

Paramedic Pamela Graham

Fire Fighter/Medic Aaron White

  • Fire Chief Jones acknowledged the commendable actions of an engine and ambulance crew from Riverdale Fire/EMS Station #807 which had a successful resuscitation:

On the morning of Saturday, August 7, 2010, Engine and Ambulance 807 responded to 4811 Queensbury Road for a report of a person not breathing. Your crew arrived within one minute after being dispatched, encountering a victim in full cardiac arrest and lying on the floor of the residence. Without hesitation, you and your fellow crew members assessed the patient and initiated CPR. Ambulance 807’s crew attached the AED, administered one shock and the patient was successfully resuscitated. Upon the arrival of Medic 812, the patient was loaded into their unit and transported to an area hospital.

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your outstanding performance on the scene of this incident, in which the patient was successfully resuscitated. Your actions speak well of you personally and professionally, and of the caliber of service our Fire/EMS Department provides to the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County.

Ambulance 807

Volunteer Fire Fighter Galen Jones

Volunteer Fire Fighter Joel Gagliardi

Engine 807

Volunteer Fire Fighter Anthony Anastasi

Volunteer Chief Charles Ryan III

Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin Cole

Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McClary

Volunteer Fire Fighter Christina Aguilar

Medic 812

Fire Fighter/Medic Ed Haaxma

Fire Fighter/Medic Keith Dowling

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fire Prevention Week and Open House Activities

Firefighters throughout Prince George’s County are participating in Fire Prevention week. This year’s theme is: “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” Fire Prevention Week runs from October 3-9, however, fire prevention is an everyday of the year activity for firefighters and we hope that our citizens and residents practice common sense fire safety habits as well.

This year's campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of smoke alarms and encourages everyone to take the steps necessary to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection.

Here are some facts about smoke alarms from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

• Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.

• Most homes (96%) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)

• Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.

• Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.

• In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

- No smoke alarms were present in 40% of the home fire deaths.

- In 23% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.

• In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.

• More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.

• Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS), 67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.

• In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

• In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.

• Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.

- In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire. (This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.)

Fire/EMS Stations will be hosting OPEN HOUSES to help educate our citizens and residents about Fire Prevention. The following Stations are hosting events:

Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, 4905 Branchville Rd College Park 301-883-7711

• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department at the National Harbor, National Children’s Museum

• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 11:00 am until 4:00 pm

Bowie Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad – 15454 Annapolis Road, 301-883-7739

• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 11:00 am until 5:00 pm

Glenn Dale Fire Association, 11900 Glenn Dale Blvd, 301-883-7718

• Sunday, October 10, 2010, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Morningside Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Suitland Road, 301-883-7727

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Bunker Hill Fire Department Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association, 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, 301-985-5406

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, 125 Crescent Road, 301-883-7735

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, at Schrom Park off Hanover Road, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Beltsville Volunteer Fire Department – 4911 Prince George’s Avenue – 301-883-7731

• Sunday, October 17, 2010, 12 noon to 4:00 pm

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Belcrest Road, 301-883-7701

• Saturday, October 23, 2010, contact the station for additional details

Fort Washington Apartment Fire

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

Just after 8:30 am, Tuesday, October 5, 2010, a 911 call was received reporting a fire in a Fort Washington apartment building. Fire/EMS units were dispatched to 2440 Corning Avenue, a 3-story in the front and 4-story in the rear, garden-style apartment building in the Rosecroft Mews Apartment Complex. Engine 821 - Oxon Hill was the first to arrive and advised of heavy fire conditions on the top floor. The fire started in a top floor balcony HVAC closet and extended up into the attic area first. The fire then extended into the top floor apartments after the attic area was already consumed. The fire then started to extend horizontally throughout the remaining roof area.

The crew from Engine 821 and other arriving firefighters initiated an aggressive interior attack on the fire and were successful in cutting off the extension and containing the bulk of the fire to the two top floor apartments.

A Second Alarm was sounded bringing a total of 60 firefighters and medics to the scene. The fire was contained and extinguished within 45 minutes. No injuries were reported and 2 family pets, both dogs, were removed and provided to their owners.

Fire Investigators believe a malfunctioning furnace in a balcony HVAC closet on the top floor is responsible for igniting the fire. Fire loss is estimated at $250,000. Apartment complex management will be assisting the approximately 35 displaced residents with vacant apartments located within the complex.

With chilly mornings occurring over the last 2 days, many residents are starting to use their furnaces, space heaters and other alternative means to keeping warm. The Fire/EMS Department highly recommends that homeowners visually inspect their furnaces and remove any combustible materials that are within 3 feet. Also, a certified technician should inspect furnaces every year, before the cold weather arrives, to ensure it is proper working order. Property managers are also reminded to inspect and clean furnaces every year. Remember a 3 foot perimeter should be provided to any heating device.

Rear side of building upon arrival. (photo by Fire Lt.Rick Patterson)

Front side of building during initial operations (photo by Fire Lt. Rick Patterson)

First arriving firefighters stand-down as crews continue with overhaul.

Incident Commander Battalion Chief Ken McSwain receives update from Fire Investigator Brian Collins.

Top Floor Balcony HVAC utility closet is where the fire started.

Fire Lt. Tony Hughes comforts 4-year-old Charli while mom went to assist in retrieving a family pet.

Ehlehna Gipson leads her pet dog"Turtle" out of the fire damaged apartment building.