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Monday, October 4, 2010

Laurel House Fire with Civilian Fatality - UPDATE

UPDATED - Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

At about 3:30 pm, Monday, October 4, 2010, firefighters were alerted to smoke coming from a house in the 6700 block of Brooklyn Bridge Road in Laurel.

Fire/EMS units arrived to find smoke showing from the 1-story single family home and a fire in the basement. The fire was quickly contained and extinguished. Firefighters performing a search of the house located a deceased female in the basement.

Fire Investigators from the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Prince George's County Police Department's Homicide unit initiated a joint investigation of the cause of the fire.  The County Police have taken the lead in this case due to the fact that the cause of the fire falls out of the responsibility for our fire investigators.  The County Police are ruling this a suicide.

The deceased is identified as:

Courtney Elizabeth Geiser DOB 6/16/1990

For any additional information contact the County Police at 301-772-4710.

Firefighters Recognized for Life-Saving Rescue

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

Several members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department were recognized for their efforts in which a young life was saved. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A, Jones presented Emergency Services Awards and congratulated them on their extraordinary contributions in the rescue from an apartment fire.


On February 26, 2010, Fire/EMS units were dispatched for an apartment fire located at 3212 Toledo Place in the Hyattsville area. Upon arrival, units discovered a fire in apartment occupied by two residents. The first arriving apparatus consisted with a crew of five from the Hyattsville Fire/EMS Station #801 and driver/pump operator Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Steve Tabak. As they entered the burning apartment, crews discovered an unconscious adult male with severe burns to a majority of his body. He was quickly removed by Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Fighter Steven Whitman and Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Fighter Nik Zupancic and turned over to EMS for care. As the other member of the crew, Hyattsville Volunteer Firefighter Matthew Leonard and Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell, began to extinguish the fire, Fire Lieutenant/Medic George Flanagan initiated a search ahead of the hose line in order to rescue a four year old female from a rear bedroom. He removed this victim and transferred care to awaiting firefighters outside. Quickly recognizing this child was lacking oxygen and may have sustained severe respiratory injuries, Fire Technician/Medic Christopher Blackistone, arriving on-board apparatus from the Riverdale Fire/EMS Station # 807, began assessing and immediate treatment of the victim. After initiating rescue breathing, via mouth to mouth, Technician Blackistone was able to restore spontaneous respirations and transferred a viable and breathing patient to EMS care. Tragically, the adult male succumbed to his injuries; however, his 4 year old daughter survived and was released after a week’s stay in the hospital.

In making the award presentation, Fire Chief Jones stated, “For your performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident, you are hereby presented this award. Your actions are held in the highest tradition of the fire service and are worthy of this commendation.”


Fire Lieutenant/Medic George Flanagan

Fire Technician/Medic Christopher Blackistone

Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Steve Tabak

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Fighter Nik Zupancic

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Fighter Steven Whitman

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell

Fire/EMS Station is Safe Haven for One But Not the Other

As with many Fire/EMS Station across the Country, Prince George’s County, MD, Fire/Emergency Medical Stations are considered a “Safe Haven.” In addition to being a facility whereas an adult can surrender a baby within 72 hours of birth, our Fire/EMS Stations can provide temporary shelter to youth and adults with nowhere else to go for help. Personnel will provide assistance in the form of notification to the appropriate agency that can assist the person and arrange for transportation to that agency or facility.


Recently, one youth found safe heaven at a Fire/EMS Station and experienced a positive reunion with his family while another station proved to be anything but a safe haven for an unwelcome adult male being pursued by the County Police.

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, at about 6:30 am, “D” shift Firefighter/Medics at Fire/EMS Station #842 – Oxon Hill were about to be relieved by the oncoming shift when about 2 dozen police officers came running through the front of the fire station towards the rear exit. Police were pursuing an armed suspect that had broken into a nearby apartment and threatened the occupants with a handgun. While investigating another crime across the street from the fire station, police saw the suspect and initiated a pursuit. The suspect was last seen running towards the rear side of the station. An extensive search for the suspect was unsuccessful and police officers dispersed to other areas to continue their search. One officer remained at the station talking with the crew of firefighter/medics. The police officer had his back to the rear of the station and firefighters were facing him with a clear view of the rear of the fire station. Firefighters witnessed the suspect hiding in some shrubbery along the back wall of the station and immediately alerted the officer. The officer pursued the suspect while summoning assistance from other police officers on his radio. The suspect was soon apprehended. No “safe haven” was provided at Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station on that morning.

At about 7:30 pm, Thursday, September 30, 2010, a Good Samaritan brought a 10 year old child to the Kettering-Largo Fire/EMS Station #846. The child stated that he had been locked out of his house and no one was at home to let him in; leaving him outside in torrential rains. Having the benefit of five personnel on-duty, one firefighter was assigned to remain with their young visitor while other personnel tended to emergency calls. Firefighter/Medics spoke to the child and were able to obtain phone numbers and were able to make contact with mom. As a matter of standard operating procedure the County Police were notified and dispatched to the Fire/EMS Station, however, the child’s mother arrived quickly and was re-united with her child with no further incident. In this case, Safe Haven was successful.

Prince George’s County, Maryland is a diverse and multicultural community bordering the eastern edges of our Nation's Capital. The Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department responded to a total of over 130,000 calls for service last year. We are one of the largest and busiest combination Departments in the Country with 45 Fire/EMS Stations protecting nearly 500 square miles with a population of almost 900,000. The Fire/EMS Department is comprised of 2000 members including career, volunteer and civilian employees.

Rising out of the Ashes - Ledo's Pizza at Penn Mar SC

In May of 2009, the Ledo’s Pizza Restaurant at the Penn Mar Shopping Center in Forestville was destroyed along with 5 other stores when an explosion occurred. The restaurant has relocated to a new store front in the same shopping center and the owner is paying tribute to the firefighters and paramedics that risked their lives in saving employees and customers that day.


Ledo’s Pizza of Forestville will celebrate their Grand Re-Opening and unveiling of a wall dedicated to the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department. This dedication wall will be adorned with items commemorating the lives saved that day and the men and women, career and volunteer, that responded to help. The dedication wall will be a permanent fixture at the store.

Ledo’s Pizza will also demonstrate their gratitude by providing a free small cheese pizza from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm on this day, only at the Forestville store, to all firefighters and paramedics.



WHAT: Grand Re-Opening and Unveiling of PGFD Dedication Wall

WHEN: Saturday, October 9, 2010, 11:30 am

WHERE: Ledo’s Pizza, 3020 Donnell Drive, Penn Mar Shopping Center, Forestville, MD

WHO: Ledo’s Ownership, management and employees as well as Fire Chief Eugene Jones and a host of Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics

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