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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Auto on Fire in a Carport Damages House

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

Conditions on arrival by Al Schwartz
A Beltsville house sustained damage when an auto fire parked in an attached carport ignited and spread to the structure.  Just after 12:30 pm, Tuesday, November 29, Firefighters from Beltsville and surrounding stations battled the fire for about 15 minutes before bringing the fire under control.  Al Schwartz, Volunteer Chief of Beltsville, arrived first and had command of the incident.  The cause of the fire is undetermined at this point.  No injuries were reported.  Fire loss is estimated at $25,000.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Train Derailer Does It Job

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

A CSX locomotive operating independent of any other rail cars derailed this afternoon at about 3:00 pm. The locomotive hit a safety device, a derailer, on a side track intentionally causing the locomotive to flip partially off of the tracks before entering the main rail line. A small diesel fuel spill resulted however there were no injuries.

This incident occurred in the 2900 block of 52nd Avenue in Bladensburg, an industrial park.
Fire Department haz-mat crews assisted CSX with clean up and monitoring of the situation.
No evacuations, no disruption in commuter rail or vehicle traffic.

Lewisdale House Fire Update - Two Adult Female Victims Succumb

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

It is with our deepest sympathy that the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department makes this announcement. Two adult females hospitalized in critical condition since Sunday after being removed by firefighters from their burning home have died.

At about 3:45 am, Sunday, November 27, 2011, firefighters and paramedics arrived to find heavy fire and smoke in a house in the 2400 block of Griffen Street in Lewisdale. An adult female was able to escape safely prior to the fire departments arrival.  Despite high heat and heavy blinding smoke firefighters found and removed three occupants from the house.  Paramedics transported them to Washington Adventist Hospital with CPR being administered on all three. Six year old Omari Noel could not be resuscitated and died later that morning. His mother and aunt were partially resuscitated and transferred to the Washington Hospital Center for hyperbaric treatment for smoke inhalation injuries. They remained in critical condition until the time of their death.

The deceased include Simone Anne Munroe, DOB 2/20/1975 and Janet Assing-Macklin, DOB 8/8/1950.

Fire Investigators have concluded that an overloaded power strip in the living room caused the fire and is considered “accidental.”

Since the fire was extinguished firefighters and paramedics have gone door-to-door throughout the county checking on smoke alarms and discussing with citizens and residents the importance of working smoke alarms in addition to having an escape plan in place and practiced. Hundreds of homes were visited on Sunday and Monday with about 25% of the homes found not having a working smoke alarm. Any County citizen and resident can call 301-864-SAFE (7233) and have a firefighter provide fire safety information and if needed, a working smoke alarm will be installed in the home; free of charge.

Here is a link to a 45 second public service announcement about the importance of smoke alarms and home escape plans: http://youtu.be/6abN2KKAuOU

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

Monday, November 28, 2011


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

Prince George's County Fire Investigators continue their work to determine the exact cause of a fire that occurred on Sunday morning in the 2400 block of Griffen Street in Lewisdale.  Preliminary information indicates that the cause of the fire appears to be "accidental."  The investigations remains open and on-going.

The fire claimed the life of six year old Omari Noel, date of birth 11/13/2005.  He was removed from the house by firefighters along with two other family members.  Omari was pronounced deceased at the hospital yesterday morning.

Two other family members were also removed by firefighters are the mother (30ish years of age) and aunt (60ish years of age) of the deceased.  Both females remain hospitalized in "critical" condition.
The grandmother was able to exit the home prior to the fire departments arrival.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

PGFD PROFILE: Fire Fighter Jeffrey Fisher

PGFD PROFILE: Fire Fighter Jeffrey Fisher
By: Diane V. Cunningham, Public Relations Office

In every successful organization you will find star players, individuals who contribute greatly to its overall success. The NFL has Tom Brady; NBA has Kobe Bryant; MLB has Derek Jeter; USTA has Venus and Serena Williams and the Prince George’ s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has Fire Fighter Jeffrey Fisher.

Fire Fighter Fisher, 47, a five-time Public Safety Valor Award recipient, took home a Bronze Medal of Valor in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003. He was awarded a Silver Medal of Valor in 2001. According to our records, being a five-time Valor Award recipient makes him the most highly decorated member currently working for the Fire/EMS Department. We were reminded of this distinction as another congratulatory letter was being placed into Fisher’s personnel folder, citing him for his actions on an ambulance call.

Now in its 34th year, the Public Safety Valor Awards is an opportunity for the County Executive and other county officials to honor the men and women who do so much to protect the lives of Prince George’s County residents. Each year, a luncheon is held where Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are presented to deserving public servants representing Police, Fire/EMS, Department of Corrections, Department of the Sheriff, and Public Safety Communication workers. The criteria for receiving these prestigious awards are “actions above and beyond the call of duty; exhibiting exceptional courage; extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind; or an unusual swiftness of action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect human life.”

Fire Fighter Fisher, a 25-year veteran of the Fire/EMS Department, is currently assigned to Station 832, Allentown Road, on B Shift. Over the span of his career, he has been assigned to Fire/EMS Station's in Landover Hills #830, Capitol Heights #805, Chillum #844, Hillside #6 and was a member of the Special Tactical Unit. In his spare time he enjoys coaching his son, Aiden’s, football and lacrosse teams. He spends about 20 hours a week holding practices and games. Fisher is also a middle linebacker for the public safety league’s DC Generals. He attributes his interest in sports to being actively involved in them when he was younger.

Jeff Fisher’s 21-year-old daughter, Tara, is a senior at University of Maryland College Park. Five-year-old Aiden is attending Kindergarten at Windy Hill Elementary School.

While it is certain Fisher takes great pride in being a five-time Valor Award recipient, his proudest moment yet may have occurred on Thursday, November 3, 2011. On that date, Fire Fighter Jeffrey Fisher proudly pinned his 19 year-old son, Matt, who graduated from the Fire/EMS Department’s Career Recruit School #44.

Fire Fighter Fisher is a resident of Calvert County.

Smoke Alarm Effort to Continue Today Throughout County

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

A early morning house fire on Griffen Street in Lewisdale Sunday morning, November 27, 2011, claimed the life of a 6 year old and two family members remain in critical condition.

Fire Investigators could not locate a smoke alarm in the home.  Firefighters returned to the Lewisdale community yesterday afternoon and visited about 250 homes and provided 55 working smoke alarms and fire safety literature.

Firefighter/Medics across Prince George's County will continue with a smoke alarm distribution effort today between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.  Armed with smoke alarms and safety information firefighters will go door-to-door to ensure homes are afforded the protection of a working smoke alarm.  Having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of surviving a fire by 50%.

Citizens and residents need not wait for a member of the Fire/EMS Department to knock on your door to receive a smoke alarm.  Call our Safety First Smoke Alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and a firefighter will come to your home and install a smoke alarm; free of charge.  This free smoke alarm program is possible thanks to a generous donation of these life saving devices by PEPCO and the IAFF Local 1619 to the Fire/EMS Department.

Remember to test your smoke alarm monthly by pushing the "test" button on the front cover and ensure a warning tone is heard.  If no sound is emitted, replace the batteries immediately or replace the entire device.  Replace your battery at least once-a-year and if your smoke alarm is 10 years old; replace it with a new one.  Have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, especially, outside of sleeping areas.

On Sunday, November 27, 2011, about sixty career and volunteer firefighters canvassed the Lewisdale community and provided smoke alarms and fire safety information to 250 homes.  Fire/EMS Stations participating in this effort included; Chillum-Adelphi #834, Chillum #844, Hyattsville #801, Baldensburg #809 and College Park #812.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lewisdale House Fire - 1 Fatality - 2 in Critical Condition

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

At about 3:45 am, Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics were alerted to a house fire with people trapped in Lewisdale.  Preliminary information indicate that four family members were at home when the fire was reported, a male child along with his mother, grandmother and aunt.  Firefighters from the Chillum-Adelphi Fire/EMS Station #834 arrived quickly at the 1-story brick home in the 2400 block of Griffen Street and encountered heavy fire coming from the front of the house and thick smoke billowing from the roof.  Crews initiated an aggressive interior attack on the fire and search and rescue for the trapped occupants.  Three occupants were quickly located and removed from the structure by firefighters and turned over to paramedics.  The fire was knocked down in about 10 minutes.

The three occupants removed by firefighters, the male child and two adult females, were assessed by paramedics as being pulseless and not breathing.  Medics aggressively treated the patients and transported them to a nearby hospital with cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) being performed.  Despite the very best efforts of firefighters, paramedics and emergency room staff the young male, 6 years of age, succumbed to his injuries.  The two adult females, 30ish and 60ish, were successfully partially resuscitated and have been transferred to a hospital for hyperbaric treatment.  This treatment is used in cases of smoke inhalation and will provide the best possible chance of survival for the two females.  They remain in “critical” condition.  The other occupant, 60ish year old female, was able to escape prior to the arrival of the Fire/EMS Department.  She was not injured.

A firefighter sustained some minor burn injuries and is expected to be treated and released from a Burn Unit today.

Fire Investigators will remain on the scene throughout most of today while they continue to develop a cause and origin of the fire.  Preliminary fire loss estimates are $100,000.  The name of the deceased is being withheld for now.

Firefighter/Medics are scheduled to return to the Lewisdale Community today at 12 noon.  They will go door-to-door asking to check smoke alarms and discuss escape routes with occupants.  If a smoke alarm is found to be non-working or absent, a smoke alarm will be provided and installed, at no charge. 

Prince George’s County citizens and residents can contact our Safety First Smoke Alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233) and have a working smoke alarm installed in their home as well, at no charge.

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

Firefighters from the Chillum-Adelphi Fire/EMS Station #834 arrived quickly at the 1-story brick home in the 2400 block of Griffen Street and encountered heavy fire coming from the front of the house and thick smoke billowing from the roof. (M.E. Brady)

Fire Investigators will remain on the scene throughout most of today while they continue to develop a cause and origin of the fire. (M.E. Brady)

Fire Investigators will remain on the scene throughout most of today while they continue to develop a cause and origin of the fire. (M.E. Brady)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bowie House Fire with Rescues

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

At about 4 am today firefighters from Bowie and other nearby stations were alerted to a house fire with people trapped. Fire/EMS units arrived at a 2-story single family home in the 14100 block of Pleasant View Drive with heavy smoke coming from the house.

Preliminary reports indicate that five people were inside when the fire started with an adult male being the only person that was able to exit the house prior to firefighters arrival. Firefighters quickly effected the rescue of four females, 1 adult and 3 pre-teen, from the second floor. The females were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation and transported to hospitals for additional evaluation and treatment; they were all transported in "good" condition.

A room and contents fire was located on the first floor and extinguished.

Fire Investigators are on the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire. Fire loss estimates are still being tabulated.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Morning Rescue by Good Samaritans

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

A Thanksgiving morning crash in Upper Marlboro could have ended tragically if not for the quick actions of Good Samaritans. At around 8:45 am a 3-vehicle motor vehicle crash occurred on Watkins Park Drive near Keverton Drive. One of the vehicles involved had their engine compartment immediately erupt with fire. The female driver of the burning car was not trapped but could not exit due to her injuries and possible shock.

Two men, driving in separate vehicles, witnessed the crash and saw the car burst into flames and recognized that no one was getting out of the car.  Without hesitation or concern for their own safety, Johnnie Wichard of Lotian, MD and Andre Matlock of Upper Marlboro, approached the burning car and saw the adult female driver inside. They opened the door and pulled the injured and distraught female to safety as the fire and intense heat extended into the passenger compartment.  Witnesses reported the fire engulfed the vehicles interior just moments after the driver was pulled out.

Firefighters and paramedics arrived a short time later and extinguished the fire and tended to victims injured in the crash. Firefighters stated that the female pulled to safety by the Good Samaritans would have sustained more serious, even fatal, injuries if it had not been for these men.  The interior of the car was completely gutted by the fire.

Drivers of 2 cars involved in the crash were transported to a nearby trauma center with serious but non-life threatening injuries, including the rescued adult female.

Upon notification of the incident, Prince Georges County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor stated, "Thanksgiving Day takes on a different meaning for those involved in this mornings crash. The quick actions of the Good Samaritans was impressive and we thank them for their bravery and courage to rush to aid a stranger in a potential life or death situation."


4 door sedan had their engine compartment burst into flames upon impact.  PGFD PHOTO

The vehicles interior was gutted by the fire.  PGFD PHOTO

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fire/EMS Department Generates Donations for Food Basket Program

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

Responding to a call for monetary donations to assist the Public Safety Assistance Program (PSAP), the combined career, civilian and volunteer membership of the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department answered in a resounding manner.

In September 2011, The Clerk of the Circuit Court warehouse in Upper Marlboro sustained significant flood damage due to Tropical Storm Lee. This resulted in the loss of over fifteen thousand dollars worth of Public Safety Assistance Program non-perishable food supplies stored in that warehouse for the annual Holiday Food Basket Program.

The Board of Directors of the Public Safety Assistance Program asked public safety agencies to conduct a special in-house monetary donation campaign to help replace these supplies through bulk purchase. Fire Chief Marc Bashoor wrote to members of the Department stating, “This is an extraordinary request, which I would not personally make if there were not an urgent need. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We need to pick up as much as possible, as quickly as possible – once again, any assistance you are able to provide NOW would be greatly appreciated.”

The combined membership of the Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department answered the call and tallied a very generous donation of $1,500. These charitable donations will ensure families in our community will have a happy holiday. PSAP is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization.

A special thank you and acknowledgment to the Fourth Battalion and Battalion Chief Grady Valencis that collected nearly $900 for the cause. Of that amount, the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department donated almost $400. Valencis stated, “Thanks for stepping up together and Happy Thanksgiving to each one of you and your families.”

Monetary donations to the PSAP may still be made.  Please contact Fire Fighter/Medic Nicole Orme, Office of the Fire Chief, at 301-883-5200 for additional information.

The PSAP is currently setting up shop at the Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station for their annual Holiday Food Basket distribution. Work will be on-going collecting food products and assembling baskets. The kick-off event for distribution is Monday, December 19, 2011, 8:00 am, at Bunker Hill Fire/EMS Station #855.

Battalion Chief Valencis provides nearly $900 in donations to the PSAP to
Deputy Fire Chief Neal Dennis, Commander of Emergency Operations.

Bill Milligan, Executive Director of the PSAP, accepts the Fire/EMS Department donation of around
$1,500 from Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale, Administrative Services Commander.

Beltsville Bomb Squad Call was "Good Intent"

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

Sometime this morning a Powder Mill Village apartment complex maintenance employee while working in an apartment discovered a suspicious looking item. He brought the item to the rental office and apartment complex management notified 911 of the situation at around 8:30 am. Based on the suspicious appearance of the item, which included a section of PVC pipe, wires and switches, the Fire/EMS Department Bomb Squad was alerted to respond to the 11300 block of Evans Trail in Beltsville.

Upon arrival, bomb technicians gathered as much intelligence about the package as possible, donned their protective garments and proceeded to enter the building and move forward with their investigation. After observing the package it was quickly determined it did not contain explosives. It appeared the item was a homemade electronic device similar to a science experiment project.  The appearance of the item would make any observer to be concerned.  Lt. Col. Scott Hoglander, Deputy Fire Chief of Special Operations, stated, “A call to 911 and a response by the Bomb Squad was certainly warranted in this matter. The item had a suspicious appearance and we fully endorse, ‘If you see something, say something’."

Bomb Technicians labeled the incident as “good intent” and called an all clear at about 10:30 am. “Render Safe” operations were not required. Powder Mill Road and Evans Trial were closed during the investigation and were re-opened immediately following the all clear.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fire/EMS Department Participate in Career Day at Gray Elementary

Fire/EMS Department Participate in Career Day at Gray Elementary

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

Lieutenant Colonel Dennis states - “Education is the key to everyone’s success not only in the Fire Service but in every aspect of every career and I want each and every one of you to take advantage of your educational opportunities.”

Deputy Chief Neal Dennis talks with students during Career Day at local elementary school.

Robert R. Gray Elementary School (4949 Addison Road, Capitol Heights, MD 20743) hosted their Annual Career Day. The purpose of their career day was to acquaint the children with a wide variety of career opportunities (especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the attitudes necessary for success. Lieutenant Colonel Dennis discussed how Science plays an important role in the Fire Service. He discussed the basic components of the fire tetrahedron to the students and the importance of that knowledge to the Fire/EMS Department.

Fire/EMS Major Corey Smedley poses for a picture with students.

Captain Jenkins discuss the importance of math in the Fire Service and how we use hydraulics to move water to extinguish the fire.

Volunteer Billy McNeel showcase the new Office of Homeland Security ”ALL-HAZARDS TRAILER” which simulates various weather related incidents and fire hazards in the home.

Winter Coat Distribution for Children in Need

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department, Prince George’s County Homeless Education Office, the University of Maryland, and Operation Warm will work together to provide 300 underprivileged children with new winter coats this year.

Three hundred pre-identified public school children will receive a winter coat this year through the Operation Warm program. Staff from the Homeless Education Office have pre-identified the familes in need of these coats and will select the coats at this event and deliver them to the children. This event will be the distribution of new coats to staff to deliver to children at various locations throughout Prince George’s County.

WHAT: Operation Warm – Winter Coat Distribution

WHEN: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 12:30 pm

WHERE: Branchville Volunteer Fire Department Heroes Hall
                 4905 Branchville Road, College Park, MD 20740

WHO: Invited guests include elected and community leaders that will join members of the Fire/EMS Department, Public School Officials, and volunteers from the University of Maryland as well as event organizers from Operation Warm.

About Coats for Kids by Operation Warm:  Operation Warm, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit providers of new winter coats to children in need. Operation Warm melds its core values of accountability, excellence, integrity, innovation, respect and teamwork with the strength of its community network to reach children across the country. Our vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly and develop a strong self-esteem. Since its inception, more than 775,000 children have received the gift of warmth, a new winter coat. Along with Coats for Kids Foundation (Combined Federal Campaign  #52316), a service of Operation Warm, Inc. we will serve our MILLIONTH child by year’s end-a momentous milestone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Firefighter/Medics Familiarize Themselves with MD Route 200

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

Prince George's County Firefighters and Medics have had the opportunity over the past week to travel on a new highway to become familiar with the road and pre-plan their responses in the event of an emergency.   The Intercounty Connector (ICC) is scheduled to open to the public on or about November 22.  The ICC, Maryland Route 200, will link existing and proposed development areas between the I-270/I-370 and I-95/US 1 corridors within central and eastern Montgomery County and northwestern Prince George's County with a state-of-the-art, multi-modal east-west highway that limits access and accommodates the movement of passengers and goods.  

Prince George's County Firefighters and Medics have recently had the opportunity to tour and pre-plan the Prince George's County portion of of the ICC which is referred to as Contract "C."  This portion covers almost four miles of new, limited access highway with three interchanges, two of which are in Montgomery County; Route 29 and Briggs Chaney Road.  The third intersection is in Prince George's County at Interstate Route 95 which includes a sprawling area of long on/off ramps and a combination of elevated overpasses and underpasses.

A consensus among firefighters is their preference to call the new highway "Route 200."  While the dispatch assignments used by Public Safety Communications are still being finalized, fire/EMS personnel have determined that units from Laurel Fire/EMS Station 810 will be first due on the west-bound side and will travel Route 198 to south-bound Interstate 95 to Route 200. Burtonsville, Montgomery County Fire/EMS Station 715, is the closest station to east-bound Route 200 by accessing the interchange at Briggs Chaney Road.  Calverton Fire/EMS Station 841 is second due on the east-bound side, however, first due on incidents reported on north-bound I-95 and the ramp to west-bound Route 200.  

One of the challenges that firefighters have noted is that a precise location is essential to dispatch the correct units in the appropriate directions.  This is particularly important on the ramps at the interchange of I-95.  Fire Captain Scott Orr, Station Commander at Calverton, stated, "The biggest challenges I foresee for Route 200 is locating the incident if it is in the I-95 interchange.  If the location isn't precise, the correct ramp may not be immediately covered.  This would cause a large delay in response as turning around and getting to the correct ramp would be very time consuming."

Beltsville Volunteer Chief Al Schwartz, Deputy Chief Matt Tomlins and Fire Captain Orr all made important observations concerning water supply management on Route 200 and adjacent roadways.  Typical with limited acess highways is the availability of hydrants for water supply.   Hydrants and water supply sources on the Prince George's portion of Route 200 are in the area of the overpass at Old Gunpowder Road.  An access door and hose line connection are located on the sound barrier wall on the westbound lane west of Old Gunpowder Road.  Deputy Chief Tomlins noted, "Water supply is scarce until the proximity of Old Gunpowder Rd where there is a connection on the westbound side sound wall. The lay would have to go from the hydrant on Burkhall Drive off of Greencastle to the sound wall."  Captain Orr believes that two hydrants located on northbound Old Gunpowder Road on each side of Route 200 would be the most accessible to that portion of the road with hose lines being laid from the hydrant and dropped down to the units operating on Route 200.  There are other hydrants in the area of Briggs Chaney Road in Montgomery County.  

Currently there is no nearby water supply available at the intersection of I-95 and Route 200.  Future development is slated to bring additional hydrants and water supply into this area.  Water carried on-board engine companies will be able to handle most small fire incidents (autos, brush, etc), anything involving large vehicle fires or hazardous material incidents will require large water tankers in addition to laying of hose lines to the nearest hydrant located about 1 mile away.

As with any opening of new highway interchanges there is a high probability of increased activity involving motor vehicle crashes.  Personnel from Laurel, Calverton, Beltsville, Laurel Rescue and Berwyn Heights should anticipate increased responses into the area when the new interchange and roadway opens.  These Fire/EMS Stations are preparing themselves by being as familiar as possible with the highway and response patterns to reported incidents.  Citizens, residents and visitors should always exercise defensive driving habits while operating a motor vehicle, however, motorists traversing the new highway and interchanges should be extra vigilant until drivers become accustomed to the change in roadways.  These defensive driving habits include paying acute attention to yourself and others around you, avoid distractions and adhere to posted speed limits and highway signage.

The view of MD Route 200 from the Old Gunpowder Road overpass looking east towards I-95.

The view of MD Route 200 from Old Gunpowder Road overpass looking west.  The access door and wall connection can be seen on the sound wall adjacent to the overhead road signs.

The access door and wall connection can be seen on the sound wall adjacent to the overhead road signs.

Traveling northbound on I-95 approaching Route 200.

Traveling northbound on I-95 at Route 200.

Traveling southbound on I-95 at ramp for westbound 200.

Firefighters Handle 2 Home Fires - Residential Sprinkler Handles 1

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

Firefighters battled home fires late last night and early this morning.  There was another fire that occurred yesterday that was extinguished by a residential sprinkler system and required little intervention by firefighters.

At around 7:30 pm, Thursday, November 17, 2011, Firefighter/Medics were dispatched to a fire in a townhouse in the 1000 block of Karen Boulevard in Seat Pleasant.  Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story townhouse with a fire inside that had been extinguished by an activated residential sprinkler system.  Firefighters ensured the fire was completely extinguished.  Damage caused by the accidental fire was limited to $2,000 and firefighters were not forced to place themselves in harms way by having to battle the fire.

Later, firefighters battled two homes that did not have residential sprinklers.  Just after 11:00 pm, firefighters arrived to a 2-story single-family home in the 700 block of 59th Avenue in Fairmount Heights with heavy fire coming from the 1st floor.  Crews entered the burning structure and battled the blaze for about 15 minutes to knock the fire down.  All searches proved negative and it appears the house is unoccupied.  Fire Investigators have initiated a search for the cause of the fire that remains under investigation.  Fire loss is estimated at $40,000.  No injuries were reported.

At 12:40 am, Friday, November 18, 2011, firefighters responded to a house fire in the 1400 block of 1st Street in Glenarden.  Fire/EMS units arrived to find fire throughout the 1-story single family home.  It required about 15 minutes to knock the fire down.  No injuries were reported and the family will be displaced.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is estimated at $80,000.

The comparison of these incidents clearly illustrates the advantages of a residential sprinkler system.  The most effective fire loss prevention and reduction measure for both life and property is the installation and maintenance of home fire sprinklers. Fire sprinkler systems offer the optimum level of fire safety because they control the fire immediately in the room of origin, help limit the spread of fire, and often extinguish it before the fire department arrives.  All residential structures built after January 1, 1992, in Prince George’s County were required to have home sprinklers.  Since then, there has never been a death reported in a home with a home sprinkler system in the County.  For additional information on the success of our residential sprinkler ordinance please click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inspecting ICE at the Gaylord National Resort

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

My favorite opportunity to highlight the Department’s Fire Inspector’s is when they conduct a Life Safety Inspection at the Gaylord National Resort popular ICE! Four fire inspectors from the Office of the Fire/EMS Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal and firefighter/medics from the first due station, Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station 842. walked through the vast exhibit area ensuring the facility is safe for the thousands of visitors and pre-planning in the unlikely event of an emergency incident. ICE! Featuring DreamWorks' Merry Madagascar will run from Nov. 18 to Jan. 8. Colorful ice sculptures carved entirely from TWO-MILLION pounds of ice will be on display.
The Gaylord website describes the attraction as, “This 15,000-square-foot attraction--a unique, interactive indoor wonderland created entirely of ice--is the crowning jewel of Christmas on the Potomac, Gaylord Nationals more than 52-day-long celebration of the holidays. Visitors will marvel at the striking detail and beautiful, theatrical renderings of beloved Christmas icons and memorable holiday scenes, all housed in a custom-built structure maintained at a temperature of nine degrees… Winter coats will be provided!”

The facility was inspected with minor corrections recommended to ensure compliance with the Life Safety Code. Fire Inspector Mark G. Hoover was the lead inspector and was supported by Fire Inspector’s Keith D. Yancy, Cassandra L. Watkins and Fire Fighter/Medic Sara A. Shaffer. Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Michael Dowling and 2 firefighters from Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station #842 also participated in the walk-thru.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Focus on Fire Safety: Holiday Cooking

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

Focus on Fire Safety: Holiday Cooking

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department is partnering with the United State Fire Administration (USFA) to help reduce the instances of cooking fires and injuries.  Cooking fires continue to be the most common type of fires experienced by households within Prince George's County and the U.S. This is even more apparent during the holidays. There is an increased incidence of cooking fires on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of civilian fire injuries in residences. These fires are preventable by simply being more attentive to the use of cooking materials and equipment.
Don’t become a cooking fire casualty. Learn the facts about cooking fire safety today!

Safe Cooking Tips

The kitchen can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the home if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviors. Here are some safety tips to help:
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
  • Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains - away from your stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners, and oven clean.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.

When cooking, stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on the stove.

If You Have a Cooking Fire

  • When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.
  • After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.

Nuisance Smoke Alarms

If a smoke alarm sounds during normal cooking, you may need to move it farther away from the kitchen (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and/or install a smoke alarm with a pause button.
If your alarm already has a pause button, push the pause button, open the door or window, and fan the area around the alarm with a towel to get the air moving. Do not disable the smoke alarm or take the batteries out!
Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.  If you are a resident of Prince George's County call 301-864-SAFE (7233) and arrange for a firefighter to come to your home and provide advice on location of a smoke alarm.  We will even provide a new smoke alarm and install it for you, free of charge.

Turkey Fryer Safety Tips

  • Use turkey fryers outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other combustible materials.
  • Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
  • Make sure fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix; water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
Mom using the stove while toddler watches more than three feet away
Young children are at high risk from non-fire cooking-related burns. Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove.

Burns and Scalds

Most burns associated with cooking equipment, cookware, and tableware are not caused by fire or flame. In 2009, ranges or ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. (Source: NFPA) Microwaves are a leading cause of scald burns. Be extra careful when opening a heated food container. Heat food in containers that are marked ‘microwave safe.’ Since foods heat unevenly in the microwave, make sure you stir and test the food before eating.

Protecting Children from Scalds and Burns

Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking than of being burned in a cooking fire. (Source: NFPA) You can help prevent these injuries by following a few basic tips:
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from where food and drink are being prepared or carried.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table or counter edges.
  • Use the stove’s back burners if you have young children in the home.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
Also, teach children that hot things burn!