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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beltway Crash Involves Traumatic Injuries

Just before 9:30 am today a motor vehicle crash occurred on the OL (NB) Capital Beltway (Rt 495/95) prior to the Central Avenue exit in Capital Heights.

One vehicle overturned and there were 4 traumas victims from the one car. 3 of the 4 injured were taken to a Trauma Center with serious injuries. The remaining patient, a 4 year old female, was found not breathing and without a pulse. First responders initiated CPR and paramedics transported the child to a trauma center.

The Fire/EMS Department has no further details. Media should contact Maryland State Police for additional information and updates.
Mark E. Brady

Friday, January 28, 2011

Takoma Park Bank Incident

The incident at a Capital One Bank in the 1100 block of University Blvd is currently being coordinated by Montgomery County and they are the lead agency for the release of information.

There are numerous PGFD Fire/EMS units on the scene. We have transported a PGPD Officer and at least one civilian (not the suspect) to area hospitals suffering from gun shot wounds. The PGPD Officer appears to have a non-life threatening wound.

Please refer all additional inquiries to Montgomery County.
Mark E. Brady

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Released From Burn Unit - County Executive Baker Visits Firefighter

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

Reprinted with permission from http://www.kentland33.com/

On January 15th, 2011, Tower Ladder Lieutenant Christopher Rutter was seriously injured while operating on second alarm box 46-23. He suffered burns to his back when he fell through the first floor stairwell and into the involved basement. By the grace of God he was able to self extricate himself to safety. After evaluating his condition on the fire ground, he was transported to the Washington Hospital Center Burn Unit in Washington, D.C. After undergoing surgery and spending over eight days under strict observation, he was released at 1400 hours on January 24th, 2011. In keeping with the tradition of returning a brother fireman to quarters from his previous alarm, members proceeded to the Hospital Center to do just that. Volunteers from the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. aboard Engine 331, Truck 33, Mini-Pumper 33 and several utility vehicles arrived at the Hospital Center and gave Lieutenant Rutter his well deserved ride back to the Landover Road Engine House. As Rutter left the entrance of the Hospital Center with his mother Gail, they were greeted by Chief, Assistant Chief and President 33. After walking to Engine 331, they were then greeted by the members manning the apparatus.

The Officers and Membership of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. would like to graciously thank everyone that sent and/or showed their support during this time. Our department had an unbelievable outpouring from hundreds of individuals and departments/organizations. We would especially like to thank the Rutter Family, Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III, The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation, the men and women of the Washington Hospital Center Burn Unit, Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor and Command Staff of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc., The Prince George's County Fire Commission, The Prince George's County Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association, members of the District of Columbia Fire Department, D.C.F.D. Engine Company No. 4/Air Unit No. 1 and anyone else that had a part in caring for our injured member.

After a busy day for Lieutenant Christopher Rutter, he had an unexpected, surprise visit from Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III. Executive Baker arrived at the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Company No. 33 around 2000 hours. He had been busy all day with several meetings, yet made the time to check on one of his local, neighborhood firefighters. He spent approx. 20-minutes out of his night talking to Lieutenant Rutter and thanking him for his dedication to the community and willingness to continue serving. After their conversation, Executive Baker wished Lieutenant Rutter well in his long road to recovery.

The Officers and Membership would like to thank Executive Baker for his visit and we wish him the best as he begins his newly elected position.


Couple Overcome by CO From Generator Inside Home

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

A Fairmount Heights couple has been transported to a hospital suffering from exposure to Carbon Monoxide (CO).  At about 10:00 am today a 911 call was received from a home in the 1300 block of Doewood Lane.  The exact nature of the emergency could not be determined from the calling party.  Public Safety Communications dispatched police and Fire/EMS to check on the welfare of the residence.  When units arrived on the scene it was quickly determined that the male and female occupants, both in their mid 50's, were suffering from carbon monoxide exposure.  The female was found unconscious and the male was disoriented with both displaying signs and symptoms of CO poisoning.

The home was without power from the Winter Storm on Wednesday and the couple had a gasoline powered generator operating inside the home to power electric appliances.  The CO built up quickly and soon sickened the couple.  Paramedics treated the patients on the scene and transported them to an area hospital.

This incident is a potentially tragic reminder to never use a generator inside of a home.

This small gasoline powered generator was found operating inside of the home on Doewood Lane. (Thomas James)

 Using Portable Generators Safely


• The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.

• Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

• Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Four Home Fires - All Without Power After Winter Storm

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department battled four house fires late Wednesday evening and through this morning.  All of the homes involved had lost power due to the winter storm on Wednesday.  in one of the incidents an adult female had to be rescued by firefighters from her burning home, she is expected to survive.   

On Wednesday evening, January 26, 2011, at about 10:30 pm, Fire/EMS units from the Greenbelt area responded to a reported house fire in the 100 block of Green Hill Avenue.  Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the house with fire showing from the rear.  Firefighters confirmed that all occupants were accounted for and safe outside as they initiated an interior attack on the fire.  A fire was located in the basement with some extension to the first floor.  Firefighters were able to knock the fire down in about 20 minutes.  A working smoke alarm alerted the lone female occupant and she was able to escape without injury.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $80,000.  The Fire/EMS Department's Citizen Services Unit provided assistance to the adult female occupant.  

Firefighters were alerted to a house fire by an ambulance passing by the scene in the 4000 block of Alton Street in Boulevard Heights just after 2:30 this morning.  Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire conditions and quickly determined that all occupants had made it out OK,  The fire was knocked down and contained within 30 minutes.  A male child about 10 years of age and an adult female about 60 years of age were transported by paramedics to a medical facility for evaluation of smoke inhalation and minor injuries.  The home did not have the protection of a working smoke alarm.   An unattended candle has been identified as the cause of the fire.  Fire loss is estimated at $30,000.  The family was assisted by the Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit with temporary shelter.

An adult female was rescued by firefighters from her burning Glenn Dale home.  At about 4:30 am, Thursday, January 27, 2011, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 4500 block of Woodgate Way with fire showing.  A working smoke alarm sounded and alerted occupants of the fire.  Four family members were able to escape the home prior to the fire departments arrival, however, a 60ish year old female was not able to escape and retreated to a second floor bedroom window and could be heard screaming for help upon firefighters arrival.  Firefighters stretched hose lines and began an interior attack on the fire and search for the trapped occupant as another team of firefighters brought a ground ladder to the rear of the house.  They extended the ladder up to the trapped victims location.  Firefighters ascended the ladder and removed the female out of the window and down the ladder.  She was evaluated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to an medical facility for treatment of 2nd degree burns and smoke inhalation.  She was transported in serious condition.There were 40 firefighters on the scene that required 25 minutes to extinguish the fire.  One firefighter was transported to an area hospital and has been admitted for his illness/injury.  It appears the fire started in the area of the kitchen.  The cause of this fire remains under investigation.  Fire loss is estimated at $80,000.  The Fire/EMS Department's Citizen Services Units assisted the remaining 4 occupants of the home with temporary shelter.  A working smoke alarm sounded providing an early warning to the occupants and subsequent early notification to 911.

At about 5:30 am, firefighters from the College Park area were alerted to a house fire in the 5000 block of Pierce Avenue.  Fire/EMS units arrived quickly to find a 1-story single family home with fire showing from the basement.  An interior attack by firefighters on the fire was in progress when a partial collapse of the first floor occurred.  Personnel immediately evacuated the structure and were accounted for and deemed OK by incident commanders.  An exterior attack continued on the fire which had now extended up to the first floor.  The family was alerted to the basement fire by a working smoke alarm.  All occupants escaped the home safely prior to the fire departments arrival.  The cause of the fire is attributed to a fireplace in the basement,  This home was without power due to the winter storm on Wednesday.  Fire loss is estimated at $140,000.  The Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit provided assistance to the displaced residents.

As power outages continue, the men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department provide these safety tips:

Stay away from any downed power line – treat every downed line as if were energized and notify 911. Avoid unnecessary travel and make plans to stay at home tonight.  While you are indoors, test your smoke alarm and ensure it is working, if not, replace the battery and test again.  If it still fails to work, call 301-864-SAFE (7233) to arrange for a new smoke alarm installed in your home.

Top Safety Tips for a Power Outage

• Use a battery powered flashlight for emergency lighting.

• Never use candles for illumination.

• Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

• Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.

• Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

• Ensure you have fresh batteries in your radio and be prepared to stay informed if a power outage occurs.

• Before a power outage occurs - Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

Safety First – Stay Informed – Stay Ready – Stay Safe



Pierce Avenue in College Park

Woodgate Way in Glenn Dale



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mount Rainier Fires Are Under Investigation

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal in conjunction with the Mount Rainier Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are aggressively investigating a series of fires in the Mount Rainier community. Evidence has been collected from each scene.  At this time there is no indication of any connection between these incidents and the fatal fire that occurred last week in the City of Hyattsville.

Citizens and residents are encouraged to be vigilant, leave outside lights on and report any suspicious or unusual activity to 911 immediately or to the Mount Rainer Police Department at 301-985-6565.

Anyone with information about these fires are encouraged to call the Fire/EMS Department’s Arson Hotline at 301-77-ARSON.

Drive Safely During Inclement Weather - SUV's - This Means You Too!!!

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

During the early morning snow today, sleet and rain were creating hazardous driving conditions on area roadways. The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department responded to an above average number of incidents for motor vehicle crashes, most of which did not result in serious injury.


As is a typical scenario when Mother Nature creates these dangerous driving conditions, Firefighter/Medics found a high number of crashes involving four-wheel-drive Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) leaving the roadway and crashing, often times being the only vehicle involved.

NEWS FLASH – SUV’s do not posses any magic capability that allows them to drive in an unsafe manner on poor road conditions during inclement weather.

The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department do not want to respond during hazardous conditions and you can help us stay inside the station. With additional snow/ice predicted for this afternoon we offer the following safe driving tips so you can arrive home safely and we can stay available for other emergencies.

Please follow these simple driving safety tips:

Stay off the roads during and immediately after the storm, allow road crews to do their jobs safely.

If you must drive; use your headlights, reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If possible, travel on flat roads and avoid hills and roads with steep inclines. Start your braking earlier then normal and allow the vehicle to coast to a complete stop.

Some operators of SUV’s believe they can negotiate snow covered roads at higher rates of speed and shorter stopping distances; this is a dead wrong belief. SUV drivers need to follow the same safe driving habits just like everyone else, if not, then one of our firefighter/medics will soon pay them a visit off the side of the road somewhere.

The safest way to travel during a snow/ice storm is not to travel, wait out the storm and continue when road conditions improve.

Snow Predicted - Power Outages Are a Possibility - Be Prepared

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

The National Weather Service is predicting accumulating snow this afternoon in Prince George’s County. Snow will arrive this afternoon and is expected to fall and accumulate quickly during the evening hours. The snow is expected to be of a heavy and wet texture, meaning, the weight of the snow accumulating on trees and overhead utility lines could result in power outages. The men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department want you to remember Safety First!!!


Stay away from any downed power line – treat every downed line as if were energized and notify 911. Avoid unnecessary travel and make plans to stay at home tonight.  While you are indoors, test your smoke alarm and ensure it is working, if not, replace the battery and test again.  If it still fails to work, call 301-864-SAFE (7233) to arrange for a new smoke alarm installed in your home.

Top Safety Tips for a Power Outage

• Use a battery powered flashlight for emergency lighting.

• Never use candles for illumination.

• Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

• Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.

• Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

• Ensure you have fresh batteries in your radio and be prepared to stay informed if a power outage occurs.

• Before a power outage occurs - Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

Safety First – Stay Informed – Stay Ready – Stay Safe


Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they are
prolonged due to Mother Nature.

The Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department wants you to know the following when handling generators in the case of a power outage.

Using Portable Generators Safely

• The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.

• Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

• Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can.

• Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fire/EMS Department Returns to Oxon Hill Community After Tragic Fire

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

Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics and staff from the Department's Community Outreach Office returned to an Oxon Hill Community this afternoon providing fire safety information and smoke alarms after a tragic fire yesterday.

Firefighters had extinguished a house fire at 307 Corla Drive at about 8:30 am on Monday, January 24, 2011. An adult male was located in the basement and pronounced deceased. There is a reasonable presumption that the deceased is a 69-year-old male resident of the house, however, positive identification is pending autopsy results. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A smoke alarm was found in the home, however, appears to have been non-working due to a lack of a battery.


As part of our Operation Safety First, personnel conducted a Post Incident Neighborhood Intervention Program (PINIP). This event is held after a significant fire, injury or death when there is a heightened community awareness about the incident. Citizens and residents are more open to allow firefighters into their homes to discuss safety items because of their awareness and curiosity about the incident.  Firefighters go door-to-door throughout affected communities answering questions, providing safety information, assistance in planning home escapes and checking smoke alarms.  If an alarm is found to be non-working or missing, firefighters will provide and install a new working smoke alarm, at no cost to the home owner. This program has been a staple of the Prince George’s County Fire Service for over 25 years.

Firefighter/Medics from Oxon Hill and surrounding communities, Community Outreach staff and Ellis F. Watson; Chief of Staff for County Councilman’s Obie Patterson-District 8, canvassed the neighborhood this afternoon going door-to-door. Nearly 300 doors were knocked with fire safety literature left where nobody was at home.  Of the 300 homes visited there was 88 positive resident contacts initiated.  Of the 88 contacts and smoke alarms checked; 10 smoke alarms were found to be non-working.  Six smoke alarms were replaced and 4 fresh batteries were installed in existing alarms and tested to ensure they worked.
Prince George’s County citizens and residents are encouraged to contact our Operation Safety First Smoke Alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and request a firefighter visit.  Fire/EMS personnel will provide assistance in planning a home escape and check your smoke alarm, if needed, a new working smoke alarm will be provided and installed; free of charge.

Safety First - Everyone Goes Home

Firefighters from Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station #821 enter a home on Corla Drive to check smoke alarms and provide fire safety information. (BRADY)

A smoke alarm is tested and worked.

Teresa Crisman, Fire/EMS Department's Community Outreach Office, provides a "hearing impaired" smoke alarm to Corla Drive homeowner Lourdes Camson.

Battalion Chief Rob Wallace (far right-with tie) provides instructions to crews prior to the PINIP.

A Corla Drive homeowner allows Firefighters/Medics into her home.  A smoke alarm was found non-working due to a lack of a battery.  A fresh battery was provided and alarm tested successfully.

Firefighter/Medics canvasing the Oxon Hill neighborhood were joined by Ellis F. Watson (far right-cap and sunglasses) from Councilman Obie Patterson's office.

Firefighters went door-to-door making as many citizen contacts as possible.

Hyattsville House Fire Claims Second Victim

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

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of a second victim from a Hyattsville house fire. On Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at about 3:50 am, firefighters removed two sisters from their burning home in the 4700 block of 40th Avenue. Seven occupants were inside the home of which 5 escaped with treatable injuries. Two sisters were removed from the home by firefighters and transported to area hospitals in extremely critical condition.


Later that morning, Kimberly Hernandez, 9-year-old, DOB-1/29/01, who had been found unconscious and removed from the first floor, succumbed to her injuries.

Her sister, Kelli Hernandez, 13-years-old, DOB-2/22/1997, was removed by firefighters from her second floor bedroom.  She was initially transported to Prince George’s Trauma Center. Paramedics had partially resuscitated the young girl en route to the hospital by restoring a faint pulse. Once somewhat stabilized, she was transported to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for specialized treatment offered at that facility. Tragically, she has also succumbed to her injuries.

Prince George’s County Fire Investigators believe the fire to be “accidental” in nature and estimated fire loss to the structure and contents at $350,000.

Firefighters Return to Oxon Hill Community Where Fatal Fire Occurred to Provide Safety Info and Smoke Alarms

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

Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics will return to an Oxon Hill community today to provide fire safety information and smoke alarms. An adult male perished in a home fire yesterday morning on Corla Drive and personnel will focus on this incident as they go door-to-door and discuss fire safety with neighbors.

Firefighters will install a working smoke alarm, free of charge, to any home found in need of one.  

Firefighters will be gathering at Claudia Drive and Corla Drive at 11:30 am today to disseminate materials and begin canvassing around noon. 

The cause of the fatal fire remains under investigation and the identity of the deceased has not been officially released.


Mark E. Brady

Winter Storm Fire Safety

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

Winter storms can bring havoc to our daily lives.

They can interrupt electrical service, cause colder temperatures, and make traveling difficult.

Fire risks increase when winter storms strike.

The use of candles, alternative heating sources, and makeshift cooking methods can significantly increase the chance of a home fire occurring.

By following some basic safety tips, however, you can protect yourself and your family from fire when winter weather strikes.

The United States Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, residential sprinklers, and practicing a home fire escape plan

For information on having a smoke alarm installed in your home; free of charge, call our Operation Safety First line at 301-864-SAFE (7233). Safety First-Everyone Goes Home.
Mark E. Brady

Monday, January 24, 2011

Water Main Break Prompts Swift Water Rescue Team Response

On Monday, January 24, 2011, at approximately 4:00 am, Prince George’s County Public Safety Communication dispatched the Fire/EMS Department to a 911 report of a personal injury accident with possible entrapment on the Inner Loop of the Beltway (Route 495/95) just south of the Central Avenue (Route 214) interchange. Fire/EMS units arrived on the scene to encounter two separate accidents (a single car up the embankment and two vehicles with minor damage) with the entire area covered by moving water. The Fire/EMS Department's Swift Water Team was summoned to assist a citizen that was safe but stranded on an embankment. A 54” water main break on adjacent commercial property allowed several thousand gallons of water to flow onto the Inner Loop. This water was described as being about 2-feet deep and moving swiftly. This caused icing of the roadway and swift water rescue challenges. The Inner Loop was completely shut down to ensure safety of the travelers, and first responders while the Swift Water Team prepared for citizen rescue. The Swift Water Team did not deploy as the stranded citizen was accessed by way of dry land from commercial property near his location. He was assisted up the embankment by firefighters to safety. After further assessment of the scene and evaluation of the patients; no injuries were found and all citizens refused transport to the hospital.  The Maryland State Police, State Highway Administration and WSSC were soon to arrive to manage the incident. Firefighter/Medics were clear of the Beltway by 5:00 am.


As a result of the 54” Water Main Break, areas of the County are experiencing water shortages from Capitol Heights to Oxon Hill. WSSC indicates this water shortage could last several hours. As a precaution, Fire/EMS Department officials re-deployed several large capacity water tankers. These Fire/EMS Department Tankers can carry up to 2500 gallons of water and were strategically moved throughout the areas plagued by low water pressure. As an added precaution, any assignment dispatched for a structure fire would receive an additional 2 engines which carry about of 500 gallons of water on-board.

Oxon Hill House Fire with Civilian Fatality - Update (2)

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters fought a fierce fire in an Oxon Hill home this morning that claimed the life of one of the occupants. At about 8:20 am, Monday, January 24, 2011, Firefighters and Paramedics were alerted by a 911 call from a neighbor stating the house next door was on fire in the 300 block of Corla Drive. Additional 911 callers indicated that a person was still inside the burning home. Dispatchers relayed information about the trapped occupant to responding firefighters and immediately dispatched paramedics to the scene as well.


The first arriving engine from Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station #821 advised they were on the scene of a 2-story, split foyer, single family home with heavy fire showing. An aggressive interior attack and search of the house was immediately initiated. It took 34 firefighters about 20 minutes to knock down the fire and conduct a primary search of the home. The primary search yielded negative results.

A thorough secondary search was conducted whereas a deceased adult male was located in the basement. An adult female, 30ish years-of-age, was able to escape the burning home by jumping from a top floor window. She sustained injuries to her leg and possible smoke inhalation and transported by paramedics to a medical facility.

Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are conducting an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire. Fire Investigators were joined by County Police Homicide as a matter of standard operating procedure. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $250,000. It is believed that the deceased is the home occupant, a 60ish year-old-male; however, an autopsy will be required to confirm the identity of the deceased.

As a result of a 54” water main break earlier this morning Fire/EMS Officials had directed the transfer of several large capacity water tankers into affected areas with low water pressure; Oxon Hill is one of those areas. As a result, 6 engines companies, compared to 4 normally, and 3 water tankers, were dispatched to this incident. While initial arriving firefighters advised of low water pressure from the hydrants, there was more than adequate water supply on the scene to handle this fire. The low water pressure from the hydrants had no impact on this incident.

Firefighters will return to the Oxon Hill community tomorrow going door-to-door providing fire safety and injury prevention material as well as checking on home smoke alarms. It is not yet known if smoke alarms played any role in this incident. Any citizen that is in need of a working smoke alarm is encouraged to contact our safety first smoke alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233). “Safety First – Ensure Everyone Goes Home.”

Conditions on arrival as photographed by a neighbor.  Photo obtained through WUSA TV 9 website.

Heavy fire was coming through the front door of this 2-story home upon fireifghters arrival (BRADY)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

As Promised - Fire Chief Completes CPAT Course

Prince George's County Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor kept his promise and completed the Candidates Physical Ability Test (CPAT).  He successfully negotiated the physically challenging course as he vowed during a previous visit.    On December 13, 2010, just a week into his tenure as Acting Fire Chief, Bashoor visited the test site for individuals competing for a job with the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department.  He had the opportunity to observe applicants participating in the CPAT.  The job of a firefighter /medic is one of the most physically demanding jobs and requires high levels of cardiopulmonary and muscular endurance.  Chief Bashoor is seen going through the eight critical, physical tasks that simulate actual job duties on the fire ground. This test is physically demanding and requires that candidates be physically fit to be successful. This test is intended to ensure successful candidates are of the highest caliber expected by the citizens of the Prince Georges County who make the significant investment in a Firefighter/Medic’s career.  Candidates are provided 10 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the course.

During his visit to the test site in December, Chief Bashoor vowed to the candidates and instructors that he would participate in CPAT and pledged to complete the course.  On Saturday, January 22, 2011, Bashoor returned to the CPAT test facility in Millersville, MD, and donned a protective helmet and vest weighing 75 pounds which is intended to duplicate the weight of a firefighters personal protective equipment.  Bashoor completed the course and kept his vow.  A quite "gassed" and exhausted Bashoor succeafully completed the course albeit 1 minute and 7 seconds beyond the allotted time.  The Fire/EMS Departments Health and Wellness Coordinator Bill Bussing stated, "It's not unusual for a participant to not complete the course or not complete in the prescribed time on the initial try, which, is why we allow the candidates several opportunities to practice the course before the actual qualification test.  I was impressed with Fire Chief Bashoor, he did very well for his first time on the course."

Being the competitor that he is, Chief Bashoor has now pledged to return and complete the course again within the allotted 10 minutes and 20 seconds.











Friday, January 21, 2011

Firefighter Will Remain in Burn Unit Through Weekend

A firefighter injured while battling a 2-alarm townhouse fire remains hospitalized recovering from his burn injuries. Kentland Volunteer Lieutenant Chris Rutter sustained significant burns to his back while operating inside a burning townhouse in the 9000 block of Continental Place in Landover during the early morning of Saturday, January 15, 2011.  Rutter sustained his injuries when he fell from the first floor into the basement of the townhouse that was undergoing remodeling.

Rutter has undergone multiple treatments and surgical procedures at the Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center since his admission last Saturday. Kentland Volunteer Chief Tony Kelleher advised today that doctors examined Chris's wounds this morning and opted to keep him in the hospital through the weekend with a possible release on Monday.

Volunteer Lieutenant Rutter remains in good condition and good spirits while he is in the constant companionship of fellow firefighters and friends. Kentland has been updating their Facebook page about Rutters status and wrote, “The Officers and Membership of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department would like to thank everyone again for their overwhelming support.”

For original press release on the fire, click here.

Update on January 18, 2011, click here.

Reporter Really Covers Ice Rescue Training



A reporter with Prince George's Community Television really got involved with her work last week. Members of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department were conducting an Ice Rescue Class at Blandensburg Marina when a camera crew and reporter showed up to cover the story. The reporter was offered the opportunity to experience first hand what it feels like to be rescued from icy waters. Tremendous story by PGCTV and really is worthy of recognition.

Fire/EMS Department Receives Humane Society Award

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

The Humane Society of the United States has recognized our Department for an incident in February 2010. The Humane Society bestowed the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department with the Humane Civil Servant Award. This annual award recognizes civil servants who have performed an act of significant courage or compassion to assist an animal in need.

In a letter that accompanied the award certificate, Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle wrote, “In February 2010, Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics and the Technical Services Team went well beyond their routine responsibilities to rescue a dog that had fallen 25 feet into a storm drain in Laurel. Had it not been for your Department’s willingness to help, it is likely the story would have had a tragic ending. Not only did you save the dog, but you also prevented inexperienced bystanders from putting their own lives in jeopardy to save him. In doing so, you demonstrated your dedication to protecting others, and we are honored to have this opportunity to celebrate your heroic response.”

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is grateful to have been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States and acknowledge their award with a great deal of pride and accomplishment.

For the original story on the dog rescue, click here.

911 Call Describes Moments Prior to Fire Departments Arrival at Fatal Hyattsville House Fire

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

This is a recording of just one of the 911 callers reporting a neighbors house on fire.  This call occurred around 4:00 am, Wednesday, January 19, 2011.  The callers calm demeanor is impressive despite the scene she was describing.  She provided key answers to the call-taker that handled the information in an expeditious and professional manner.


The caller was on on a wireless land line phone or cell phone and provided important information to the call-taker while walking in the immediate area of the house fire.  The call-taker entered the initial call as soon as he had the who, what, when and where and then entered additional information that he was able to glean from the caller.  This information, primarily, about children still inside, was relayed from dispatchers to responding Fire/EMS personnel.  Firefighters arrived within four minutes of dispatch and removed the two young girls from their burning home.

Prince George's County Public Safety Communications Center (PSC) is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for Prince Georges County. This means that all 911 calls in Prince Georges County are routed to the center for dispatching of proper emergency personnel.

PSC consists of approximately 190 authorized personnel that are responsible for all aspects including call taking, dispatching, technical support, radio system, and personnel functions.

Prince George’s County processes over 1.5 million 9-1-1 calls per year. By utilizing a Computer Aided Dispatch System, they are able to coordinate dispatching for the Police Department, Fire/EMS Stations, 9 Municipal Police Departments, and the Sheriff’s Department. Both our 9-1-1 Call-Takers and Dispatchers are trained to provide advanced emergency medical dispatch services.


Should you have any questions or comments please e-mail PSC@:
911customerservice@co.pg.md.us

This Email link should be used for Feedback and Informational purposes ONLY.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Would a Talking Smoke Alarm Save Lives???

Winter Weather Warning: CPSC and USFA Issue Home Heating Safety Alert

Contact:
USFA Press Office:
(301) 447-1853CPSC Press Office:
(301) 504-7908 

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are urging consumers to play it safe as winter weather blankets the United States.

According to USFA, home fires spike in winter months. Cooking and home heating are the leading causes of residential building fires during the winter. The risk of fires also increases with the use of supplemental heating, such as space heaters.

CPSC estimates that home heating was associated with an average of 33,300 fires and 180 fire deaths per year from 2005 to 2007.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is also a serious threat in the winter months. Any fuel-burning appliances in the home, including furnaces and fireplaces, are a potential CO source. Carbon monoxide is called the "invisible killer," because it is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas.

There has been an increasing trend in unintentional, non-fire CO deaths associated with consumer products since 1999. CPSC staff estimates there were 184 CO poisoning deaths on average per year from 2005-2007 compared to 122 deaths per year from 1999-2001. Since 1999, the majority of CO deaths have been associated with heating systems and portable generators.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are an important line of defense in the home, and they give consumers valuable escape time. About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, or in homes where consumers have removed the alarm's batteries or where the batteries are dead. Recently, there were tragic deaths in homes where alarms could have made a difference:

•  In Citra, Fla., a fire killed five children on November 8. Their home did not have smoke alarms.
• In Penfield, N.Y., a 54-year-old man died of CO poisoning in November. Prior to his death, the home's CO alarms reportedly beeped and were removed from the house.

CPSC and USFA recommend that in addition to having working smoke and CO alarms, consumers should follow these safety tips to prevent fires and CO poisoning:

Preventing Fires
• Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials; and place space heaters out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

• To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the heater off when you leave the area. See CPSC's electric space heater safety alert for more space heater safety tips.

• Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater. Even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of a fire.

• Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris every year.

• Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

• Store fireplace ashes in a fire-resistant container, and cover the container with a lid. Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles. Dispose of ashes carefully, keeping them away from dry leaves, trash or other combustible materials.

Preventing CO Poisoning
• Schedule a yearly professional inspection of all fuel-burning home heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.

• NEVER operate a portable gasoline-powered generator in an enclosed space, such as a garage, shed, or crawlspace, or in the home.

• Keep portable generators as far away from your home and your neighbors' homes as possible - away from open doors, windows or vents that could allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home.

• When purchasing a space heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.

• Do not use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space, unless they are designed specifically for indoor use. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.

The United States Fire Administration recommends everyone should have a comprehensive fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, residential sprinklers, and practicing a home fire escape plan


Mark E. Brady

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hyattsville House Fire with Fatality - UPDATE

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

A Hyattsville family has suffered a tragic loss as a result of a house fire this morning. Just before 4:00 am, Wednesday, January 19, 2011, firefighters and paramedics were alerted to a house fire with children trapped inside the burning home. Five family members were able to exit the house, however, two young sisters did not.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the 1 ½ stories, wood frame, single-family home at 4709 40th Avenue and found heavy fire consuming the front portion of the first and second floors. Initial arriving firefighters from Bunker Hill, Bladensburg, Hyattsville and Chillum-Adelphi mounted an aggressive interior attack as well as a search and rescue. While hose lines were advanced into the burning home, teams of firefighters searched quickly for the 2 children reported still inside. Through a collaborative effort of suppression and search the two were soon located.

A 9-year-old female was located on the first floor by firefighters from Bladensburg and a 13-year-old female was found in a second floor bedroom by the crew from Hyattsville. The patients were removed from the home and their conditions were quickly assessed as having no pulse and not breathing. Firefighters started CPR and Paramedics provided advanced pre-hospital care. The pair of sisters were transported to area hospitals in extremely critical condition.

The mother and father; 30ish and 40ish years of age respectively, a 30ish-year-old uncle and two additional siblings; 4-year-old female and a 13-year-old female, had self evacuated prior to the Fire Departments arrival. The 4-year-old and 13-year-old sisters were transported, initially in critical condition, to an area hospital for smoke inhalation. The mother and father were also transported to an area hospital after remaining on the scene for about an hour.

Prince George’s County Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor and County Councilmember Will Campos held a 1:00 pm media briefing in front of the home. During this update, Fire Chief Bashoor provided the following information.

• The 9-year-old-female succumbed to her smoke and burn injuries a short time after arriving at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She has been identified as Kimberly Hernandez. Her sister has been transferred to a hospital in Baltimore with a hyperbaric chamber. She remains in extremely critical condition.

• The other two siblings have been improving as the day progressed and are in stable condition.

• Fire Investigators state the fire appears to be “accidental” in nature. The exact cause of the fire will not be released until post-autopsy. Fire loss is estimated at $350,000.

• Two firefighters sustained injuries and have been treated and released from their respective hospitals.

• The home was equipped with a hard-wired smoke alarm. The father stated he heard the alarm sound but had already been awakened from the smoke.
  • There were 75 career, volunteer and civilian members of the Fire/EMS Department on the scene today.  it required 20 minutes to knock down the bulk of the fire.
After the 1:00 pm media update firefighters went door-to-door providing fire safety information as well as checking for working smoke alarms. If a home was found lacking the protection of a working smoke alarm, firefighters installed one, at no cost.  Firefighters visited 50 homes and visited with 26 residents.  14 smoke alarms were installed in those homes lacking a working smoke alarm.

Any Prince George’s County citizen or resident may request a smoke alarm installed In their home free of charge by calling our Safety First Smoke alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

A relief effort is being coordinated through the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation.  Donations can be directed to the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, 5004 42nd Ave, Hyattsville MD 20781.  This group is also working with others in the community to try to arrange temporary housing for the family.

The 1:00 pm incident update can be viewed here:



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



Girl Dies, 3 Sisters Injured in Prince George's House Fire: MyFoxDC.com

Girl Dies, 3 Sisters Injured in Prince George's House Fire: MyFoxDC.com

Hyattsville House Fire with Civilian injuries

Just before 4:00 am. Wednesday, January 19, 2011, firefighter/Medics were alerted to a house fire with children trapped.  Upon arrival in the 4700 block of 40th Avenue in Hyattsville, fire/EMS units encountered a 1 1/2/ story, wood frame, single family home with heavy fire conditions consuming the front portion of the house.  Firefighters mounted an aggressive interior attack on the fire and a search for the trapped occupants. 

Firefighters quickly located 2 females, one on the first floor and one on the second floor, and removed them from the house.  They were quickly assessed as non-breathing and without a pulse and CPR was initiated.  Paramedics provided pre-hospital care and transported the two sisters to area hospitals.  Their condition this morning was reported as extremely critical and grave.

An adult male and female, mother and father, were able to escape their burning home with two other daughters.  These occupants were also transported to area hospitals.

One firefighter sustained burns to his feet and transported to a Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center.  He was treated and released.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $350,000 for the structure and contents.

Prince George's County Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor provided a media update at 7:30 am which can be viewed below.  He is expected to provide updated information at about 1:00 pm on the scene of the incident.  At that time firefighter/Medics will be going door-to-door providing fire safety information and new smoke alarms, if needed.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Firefighter Remains Hospitalized in Good Condition - Search for Working Smoke Alarms - Not So Good

A firefighter remains hospitalized in a Burn Unit after suffering significant burns in a fire this past weekend. Kentland Volunteer Fire Lieutenant Christopher Rutter, 31 years of age, remains in the Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center where he continues to receive treatment for his burn injuries. He sustained the injuries while battling a fire in a row of townhouses in the 9000 block of Continental Place in Landover on Saturday, January 15, 2011, at about 3:30 am. Rutter was involved in interior operations when he fell through an opening on the first floor into the basement. He was able to self rescue and discovered his burn injuries after the fire had been extinguished. He was transported by paramedics to the Burn Unit where he expected to remain for a few more days. He is in good condition.


The Continental Place fire escalated to a Second Alarm and caused an estimated $100,000 in damages. The townhouse of origin was vacant and currently undergoing a remodel. The cause of the fire remains “under investigation.”

After significant incidents and while community interest is still high; firefighters and paramedics return to the community and go door-to-door providing fire safety and injury prevention material. Personnel also ask residents if they can check their smoke alarms. If a smoke alarm is found to be non-working or missing, firefighters will install a new smoke alarm; free of charge. On the morning of the Continental Place fire; firefighter/Medics conducted our Post Incident Neighborhood Intervention Program (PINIP) and knocked on nearly 160 residents doors. Of those homes firefighters had contact with 53 residents allowing personnel to enter their homes and check smoke alarms. Of the 53 contacts we found 23 smoke alarms non-working or missing. These homes were provided with new smoke alarms.

Previous PINIP’s identified an average of 25% of homes visited did not have a working smoke alarm, this PINIP produced a 43% failure of homes to have the life-saving protection of a working smoke alarm. Across America, more than 3,000 people die each year in residential fires; most in homes that lack the simple, inexpensive and effective protection of a working smoke alarm. On January 1, 2011, an adult male died in a Temple Hills house fire that he probably would have survived if the home had a working smoke alarm.

The smoke alarms that are currently in place in homes throughout Prince George’s County have unquestionably saved countless lives, however some serious challenges still exist for the Fire/EMS Department to achieve our goal of assuring that ALL homes in our community are properly protected.

After the New Years Day fire with a civilian fatality, Prince George’s County Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor instituted a new and aggressive initiative to ensure every home has at least one working smoke alarm.

The “Safety First” initiative will build on the Department’s existing smoke alarm programs to either directly or indirectly touch every residential structure in Prince George’s County in the next six months. Bashoor is working with houses of worship, homeowners associations, civic associations, and of course our local fire and EMS stations to immediately make this a sustained priority effort.

Acting Fire Chief Bashoor feels strongly about working smoke alarms in every home and stated, “It is important for everyone to understand, that the best staffed, best equipped, and best funded Fire Department may not be able to save you in time, on their own. We must accept the personal responsibility to help ourselves, to make ourselves safety conscience and improve our home preparedness and safety. It will not cost you anything to plan a quick escape route and family reunification plan for you and your family, and it won’t cost you anything to look at ways to improve safety in your home. I challenge every one of our residents to accept the personal responsibility to make sure you have a working smoke detector on every floor of your residence, and to make safety first in your everyday lives.”

Citizens and residents should follow these simple steps to ensure your smoke alarm is working and that you and your family are protected:

• Push the test button on the face of the alarm. If an audible alarm does not sound; replace the battery or replace the entire alarm. This test should be performed monthly.

• Clean your smoke alarm by dusting or using a vacuum to clear any dust that may have accumulated on your alarm.

• Change the battery in your smoke alarm at least once-a-year. Firefighters use the changes in Daylight Savings Time to remind everyone to perform this important function. Change Your Clock – Change Your Battery.

• If your alarm is more than 10 years old – replace it with a new one.

• A working smoke alarm should be installed on every level of your home. Prince George’s County Law mandates at least one working smoke alarm in your home. Firefighters recommend one be installed on every level of your home.

Citizens and residents should contact our Safety First Smoke Alarm Line at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and make arrangements to have a member of our Fire/EMS Department visit your home and install a working smoke alarm; free of charge. You may also apply on-line by clicking here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

PGFD Participates in NBC 4 Health and Fitness EXPO

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department once again participated in the NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expo.  The Expo was held at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, January 15th and 16th, 2011.  The Fire/EMS Department utilized their space to promote health, wellness, injury prevention, fire safety and for the first time, a unique challenge course designed for young children.  The challenge course was a mini version of a firefighters "candidate physical ability test" (CPAT).  Four stations were set-up including aerobic steps, hose pull, maze and hose pull.  Upon successful completion the participant received a certificate of completion.  There were hundreds of children that participated in the challenge course.  

Acting Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and Lt. Col. Jerry LaMoria helped staff the PGFD booth on Saturday and assisted some of the children in completing the course.  Chief Bashoor commended the efforts of Community Developer Karen Hardy, the Department's Health and Wellness Coordinator Bill Bussing for their design and execution of the display which proved to be extremely successful.  Bashoor stated, "I commend our civilian and career personnel that took the time over the course of the weekend to participate with this  community outreach effort. I also recognize that this design was more then just a shiny firetruck and red helmet give-away, we provided participants a small view of a firefighter/Medics daily way of life."  




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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Firefighter Injured Battling Two-Alarm Townhouse Fire

A firefighter has been admitted to a Burn Unit after falling through a floor while battling a townhouse fire. At about 3:30 am, Saturday, January 15, 2011, firefighters were alerted by a 911 caller of a townhouse fire in the 9000 block of Continental Place in Landover. Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story, middle of the row, townhouse with heavy fire on the 1st and 2nd floors. A Second Alarm was sounded bringing additional firefighters and resources to help battle the fire.


During the fire fight a volunteer firefighter from Kentland Fire/EMS Station #833 fell from the first floor into the basement through a hole in the floor. The firefighter self-rescued himself and was soon evaluated by paramedics on the scene and transported to the Burn Unit at Washington Hospital Center. The 30 year old male has been admitted with what has been described as a “significant” 2nd degree burn to his back. Overall he is in good condition, however, will remain at the Burn Unit for additional treatment.

It appears that the townhouse of origin and the two on either side were not occupied and under remodel. It required about an hour for fifty firefighters to knock down the fire. There were no other civilian or firefighter injuries. Fire Investigators and Safety Officers are conducting a thorough review of this incident. The cause of the fire is “under investigation.” Fire loss is estimated at $100,000.

This was not the only incident that Prince George’s County Firefighters had to tend to throughout the course of last night and early this morning.

Just after 7:30 pm, Friday, January 14, 2011, firefighters from the Beltsville area extinguished a fire in a townhouse in the 12000 block of Beltsville Drive. A kitchen fire was quickly contained and extinguished. Unattended cooking was to blame with an estimated fire loss of $2,000.

Later the same evening, around 11:00 pm, firefighters from the District Heights area were called to a reported townhouse fire in the 7200 block of Marbury Court. Unattended cooking was determined to be the cause of the fire which caused an estimated $30,000 in estimated fire loss. No injury, however, the family was displaced.

At about 2:45 am a fire in a vacant structure in the 16300 block of Livingston Road in Accokeek prompted a response by firefighters. Fire/EMS units arrived to find fire showing from a garage attached to a vacant home. The fire was extinguished without incident. The fire caused an estimated $30,000 in fire loss and the cause is “under investigation.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

Suitland Townhouse Fire

Prince George’s County Firefighters battled a fire in a 2-story end of the row townhouse this morning. Just after 11:00 am, Friday, January 14, 2011, firefighters were dispatched to 3451 Regency Parkway for an occupant report of smoke in the townhouse. Upon arrival units encountered heavy smoke conditions and soon discovered fire in the walls between the first and second floors. A laundry dryer appears to be the area of origin. The dryer vent pipe chase allowed the fire to extend up through the walls into the top floor. A quick recognition of fire conditions allowed personnel to position hoselines and permitted truck company firefighters to pull walls, ceiling and floors to expose and stop the fire extension before it reached the attic.  Firefighters also were able to stop the fire extension before it reached the adjoining townhouse.  The fire was contained and extinguished within 20 minutes.


A family of three, 1 adult female and 2 children, will be displaced and have opted to temporarily reside with other family members until repairs to the townhouse are made. Fire loss is estimated at $40,000. No injuries were reported.

Front side of townhouse.

Rear side of townhouse.