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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Laurel Garage Fire - 12800 Block of Cedarbrook Lane

Prince George's County Firefighters have battled their third unrelated attached garage fire in just over 24 hours. 

Firefighters work to contain fire in the garage of a
home on Cedarbrook Lane in Laurel.
At about 1:15 pm, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, firefighters from Laurel responded to a reported house fire in the 12800 block of Cedarbrook Lane.  Upon arrival, firefighters encountered a working fire in an attached garage of a 2-story house.  Firefighters were able to quickly contain and extinguish the fire preventing any extension in to the house.  At this point, no injuries have been reported.  The cause of this fire appears to be accidental and started while an occupant was working on a car engine inside the garage. Fire loss estimates are still being tabulated.




At about 10:00 am, Monday, April 11, 2011, firefighters battled a fire that originated in the garage and spread into the structure causing $250,000 in estimated fire loss.  The cause of the fire appears to be accidental and attributed to an electrical malfunction.  The family is displaced.

Later Monday, just after 6:00 pm, a fire appears to have started in the garage in an Accokeek home causing more then $300,000 in estimated fire loss.  The cause of this fire remains under investigation.  This family was also displaced.

Remembering Fire Fighter Thomas L. Graves, Jr.

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

Shortly after three o’clock on the afternoon of April 16, 1980, Prince George’s County Fire Department units were alerted to respond to a gas leak in a residential apartment complex in the Glenn Dale community of Prince George’s County.


Fire Fighter Thomas L. Graves, Jr.
On arrival, crews began conducting a search of the building to assure all residents had evacuated, and commenced ventilation of the building. Fire Fighter Thomas L. Graves, Jr., 31, Driver of the first-arriving Ladder Truck from the Glenn Dale Station, was working in the front of the building clearing windows in an effort to assist crews who were operating inside the structure. Without warning, a massive and catastrophic natural gas explosion occurred, collapsing two floors of the building as well as a large portion of the brick fa├žade from the building into the area immediately in front of the structure. As the building collapsed, Fire Fighter Graves was trapped beneath several tons of brick and rubble.

As a volunteer fire fighter/EMT at Branchville Fire/EMS Station 11, I was the driver on Ambulance 119, which was dispatched as part of the initial alarm. On that call, I was accompanied by fellow Branchville Volunteers Elizabeth Jackson and Brenda Bearden (Jackson and Bearden both went on to become career firefighters with PGFD and have since retired). As our unit approached the scene, we heard the incident commander radio that an explosion had occurred. He immediately ordered all personnel on the scene to abandon their current assignments and report to the front of the building to assist in the rescue of a firefighter trapped under debris. In the same breath, he requested a second alarm.

The personnel on-scene frantically dug in the brick pile in an attempt to rescue Graves. On arrival, the crew of Ambulance 119 immediately joined the efforts to free the release the trapped fire fighter. Once rescuers reached Graves, it was clear that he had suffered massive and life-threatening injuries. Tommy was quickly loaded on our cot and rushed to Ambulance 119 for transport. Jackson and Bearden commenced CPR as I drove the ambulance out of the complex and onto Good Luck Road. En-route to nearby Doctors Hospital, I recall switching to an alternate radio channel to report our destination to the personnel responding on Medic 1. Medic 1, which was not yet on the scene, concurred with our efforts and advised that they would rendezvous with us at Doctors Hospital in the event that the fire fighter required transport to the trauma center. On arrival, we transferred care of Graves to the waiting Emergency Room staff. Jackson, Bearden and I remained at the hospital as a steady stream of firefighters and officials arrived. I remember Sergeant Jim Miller was the first to come through the doors behind us as the Emergency Room staff focused their efforts on saving Fire Fighter Graves. They worked until everything they could do had been done and there was nothing else they could do.

Sadly, Thomas L. Graves, Jr. succumbed to his injuries in the line of duty on the afternoon of April 16, 1980. He was the first career firefighter killed in the Line of Duty in Prince George’s County, leaving behind a wife and 16-month-old son. Sergeant Miller debriefed the crew of Ambulance 119 and we departed Doctors Hospital, headed back to Branchville. I recall the brief trip home was filled with conversations about what we had just been part of. I suspect that Elizabeth and Brenda, who have since retired from the Fire/EMS Department, both remember that afternoon just as vividly as I do.

On this, the 31st Anniversary of the Line-of-Duty Death of Fire Fighter Thomas L. Graves, Jr., we ask that everyone take a moment and remember Tommy as one of our fallen heroes.

Below is a copy of a Washington Post article from April 19, 1980.



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Presidential Recognition for Two Volunteer Members

Two Prince George's County Volunteers were among a dozen recipients of a Presidential Award.  Hugh Owens and Harve Woods, both members of the Glenn Dale Volunteer Fire Association and the Maryland Fire Chief's Association (MFCA) recently received President Barack Obama's "Call To Service Award,"  This Presidential award was presented in recognition of the MFCA's efforts to establish and operate a system to provide real-time information to senior Fire and Rescue Officers across the entire State of Maryland on a 24/7/365 basis. Named the "Statewide Alert Network" this system relays severe weather warnings, extra alarm incident information, and other services to keep Command level officers abreast of what is actually happening at the moment. From the original goal of serving Maryland's Chief Officers, this system has grown to also provide assistance to jurisdictions from New York to South Carolina.

The awards were presented on the President's behalf by Acting U.S.Fire Administrator Chief Glenn Gaines, and Dr. Denis Onieal, superintendent of the National Fire Academy.  The event was held on Thursday, April 7th, 2011, just prior to the Congressional Fire Services Institute Dinner held at the Washington Hilton.


Harve Woods, Acting PGFD Fire Chef Marc Bashoor and Hugh Owens at Awards Ceremony.  (Photo by Ron Watkins)


Accokeek House Fire - 700 Block of Edelen Court

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

An Accokeek single family home sustained significant damage and a family is displaced after a fire on Monday afternoon. Shortly after 6:00 pm, Monday, April 11, 2011, firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire in the 700 block of Edelen Court. Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story home with heavy fire in an attached garage. The fire appears to have originated in the homes attached garage.  The fire damaged three vehicles in or near the garage area before extending into the second floor and roof of the home. Firefighters were forced to evacuate due to untenable conditions inside the burning structure. The bulk of the fire was knocked down from the exterior and firefighters re-entered the structure to complete extinguishment.


No injuries were reported in this fire that caused an estimated $300,000 in fire loss. Fire Investigators continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

The family of two will be displaced and will make their own arrangements for alternate housing.
Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story home with heavy fire in an attached garage. The fire damaged three vehicles in or near the garage area before extending into the second floor and roof of the home. (Billy McNeel)

Firefighters were forced to evacuate due to untenable conditions inside the burning structure. The bulk of the fire was knocked down from the exterior and firefighters re-entered the structure to complete extinguishment. (Billy McNeel)

The fire damaged three vehicles in or near the garage area before extending into the second floor and roof of the home. (Billy McNeel)