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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Arson is Cause of Riverdale Fire that Injured Seven Firefighters

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


Fire Chief Marc Bashoor led the press conference and was joined by the States Attorney, the County Police Department, Agents from the ATF, PGFD Command Staff and Fire Investigators. (BRADY)


Officials Seek Community Help in Identifying Suspects

A fire occurred on Friday, February 24, 2012, at 9:11 P.M., in which 7 firefighters were injured and treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Six of those injured have been released, with 1 remaining in the Burn Unit.  A Press Conference was held at the Fire/EMS Departments Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.  The purpose was to bring everyone up to date with the firefighter injuries and announce the cause and origin of the fire.


Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor was elated to announce that Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell has been released from the hospital. Ethan was released on Tuesday evening.  He was injured in the  fire on Friday evening, February 24, 2012.  Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzil informed Chief Bashoor that Sorrell will have a follow up appointment  next week. Sorrell returned home with his parents to North Carolina for about a week or until his follow up visit next week.  Upon his return he will more than likely reside at the Bladensburg Fire/EMS Station and make follow-up medical appointments and spending most of his time at the Burn Unit with his fellow firefighter, Kevin O’Toole.  He remains in "Critical" but "Stable" condition.  Kevin is undergoing medical procedures and skin graph surgeries and is expected to remain in the Burn Unit for up six weeks,


As with any fire of this magnitude, a complete and thorough investigation into the cause and origin is conducted. This particular investigation involved investigators from the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; County Police Department; and the State’s Attorney’s Office. Investigators have worked around the clock since the incident occurred to determine the cause and origin of the fire.


The investigative team has determined the fire that occurred at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale is the result of arson, the area of origin is the basement. The house next door, 6402 57th Avenue, where a previously unreported fire occurred on an earlier date, is also being investigated as arson. Investigators reached this conclusion based on evidence collected at the scene of both fires. Because this is an open and on-going criminal investigation, evidence cannot and will not be discussed.


Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, “We will leave no stone unturned. Every resource available to us will be used to find the person(s) responsible for setting this fire. Once the responsible person(s) have been identified, we will work with the State’s Attorney to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”


States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks spoke and stated, "I am impressed with the case that investigators have put together and agree with the Fire Chief in that we will prosecute the responsible person to the fullest extent of the Law."


In addition to criminal charges related to arson, there could be criminal charges stemming from the injuries to the firefighters.


We are asking for the community‘s involvement and assistance in helping to identify the person(s) responsible for setting these fires. If you have information about either of these incidents, call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). You may also send your tips, SECURELY and ANONYMOUSLY, via TEXT MESSAGE by typing "PGPD" plus your message, and sending it from your cell phone to "CRIMES" (274637). If your information leads the capture of any of these fugitives, you may be eligible for a CASH REWARD up to $1,000.


The Prince George’s County Arson Tip Line will also accept information at 301-77-ARSON, or email 77ARSON@co.pg.md.us.



Deputy Fire Chief Scott Hoglander responds to a reporters question about the 57th Avenue Fire which was declared Arson. (Brady)

States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks address media. (BRADY)


Early Morning Fire Damages Cheverly Building

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

Prince George's County Firefighters battled a blaze at a 2-story structure in Cheverly this morning.  At around 3:45 am firefighters were dispatched to investigate an automatic fire alarm called in to Public Safety Communications by an alarm monitoring company.  Additional calls from the community reported smoke in the area and dispatchers upgraded the assignment to a full building fire assignment.     Firefighters arrived at 5802 Arbor Street to find a 2-story commercial structure that was being used as a church with heavy smoke showing.  The fire was extinguished in about 20 minutes by 30 firefighters on the scene.

Fire Investigators are currently searching for the cause of the fire and have this incident "under investigation."  Fire loss is estimated at $250,000.  No injuries were reported.

Fire can be seen at the roofline of the 2-story building occupied by a church.  PGFD PHOTO

Firefighters remove safety bars from the ground floor windows of the structure.  PGFD PHOTO

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PRESS CONFERENCE: Riverdale Fire Cause and Origin - Update on Injured Firefighters

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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor will announce the cause and origin of the Riverdale fire that injured seven firefighters on Friday night.  He will be joined by allied public safety agencies that are assisting in the investigation.

Fire Chief Bashoor will also bring everyone up to date with the most current information of the medical status of the injured firefighters.

WHAT: Press Conference - Cause and Origin of Riverdale Fire and update on injured firefighters

WHEN: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 1:00 PM

WHERE: Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building, 6820 Webster Street, Landover Hills, MD

WHO: Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, Fire Investigators, volunteer members of effected stations and officials from our allied public safety agencies.

Fire Chief Promises Thorough and Complete Investigation and Review of Riverdale Incident

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

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor has stated that he will ensure a thorough and complete investigation into the incident that resulted in seven firefighters being injured. On Friday evening, February 24, 2012, firefighters responded to 911 reports of a house fire at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale. Two of the injured firefighters remain hospitalized in the Burn Unit at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center.


In order to discover the chain of events and circumstances which contributed to the outcome of this incident, Fire Chief Bashoor has issued a high-priority directive for the Department to immediately embark on a thorough investigation which will involve three parallel, ongoing and interrelated disciplines:

Determination of Cause and Origin – as is customarily conducted under the direction of our Office of the Fire Marshall.

An Operational Review and After Action Report – Conducted under the direction of our Emergency Services Command.

A Thorough Safety Audit of the Incident – by a Safety Investigation Team (SIT), this will be conducted under the direction of the Risk Management and Safety Office, by both internal and external partners that the Fire Chief will select.

Fire Chief Bashoor wrote to members of the Fire/EMS Department, "If we are to truly learn from this experience, we MUST first be honest with ourselves and honest and forthcoming with information that these teams will need."

It is important to note that all three Investigative Teams will be regularly communicating their progress. The SIT will be selected from both internal and external resources to assure independent verification of fact.

Bashoor stated. "It is my intent to leave no stone un-turned and no question un-asked as we seek to discover the contributing factors that precipitated this incident. As Fire Chief, I commit to you that each of these inquests will be open and honest. I further commit that the eventual findings will be promptly released in the form of a written After Action Report." He concluded, "This After Action Report will serve to benefit not only firefighters in Prince George's County but will be made available to all fire departments to assist them in avoiding similar circumstances."

An annoucemnt concernng the cause and origin of the fire is expected within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Monday, February 27, 2012

UPDATE on Medical Status of Two Injured Firefighters

The injured firefighters, Ethan Sorrell and Kevin O'Toole, continue to show signs of progress each and every day.  The volunteers firefighters are still in the Burn Unit ICU at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center.

Ethan had his breathing tube removed and is now breathing on his own. His spirits have increased as he was encouraged to walk the hallways and had the opportunity to spend time with some visitors.

Kevin had skin graph surgery performed on several of his burns today and we were told that it went well.

Both Ethan and Kevin are currently resting at the Doctors direction.

Mark E. Brady
PGFD Chief Spokesperson

Seat Pleasant House Fire - Goldleaf

Fire and smoke coming from the house in the 600 block of Goldleaf Avenue after arrival of the Fire Department.
Photo credit to Assistant Chief Steve Hess PGFD.



Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Firefighters and paramedics from the Seat Pleasant community were alerted to a house fire at around 2:50 this afternoon. Firefighters arrived at the 2-story single family home in the 600 block of Goldleaf Avenue with heavy smoke issuing from the structure.

Firefighters initiated an interior attack and search/rescue. All searches proved negative and the fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes.

A female occupant was at home and was able to escape the home safely. No injuries, civilian and firefighter, were reported. Two adults occupants of the house will be displaced and they are making their own living arrangments.

Cause of the fire is unknown at this time and fire loss estimates are not yet available.

MEDIA ADVISORY - Smoke Alarm Press Conference

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

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department will hold a press conference to announce results of recent community canvassing with fire safety information and smoke alarms.  The Fire/EMS Department has been very aggressive, more than usual, in our efforts to ensure every home has a working smoke alarm.  Because of this aggressiveness we have depleted our supply of new smoke alarms.  Officials from PEPCO will be on hand to deliver a extremely generous donation of smoke alarms to Prince George's County.  They are making a huge donation of alarms.  Another group supplied the Fire/EMS Department with a quantity of smoke alarms that helped us bridge the gap between PEPCO Donations.  The local franchise of 1-800-Board-Up will be on hand as well.

We will also remind everyone that the first of every month is the day we have designated for you to test your smoke alarm and ensure it is working.  Safety First Day of the Month!!!

WHAT: Smoke Alarm Press Conference

WHEN: Thursday, March 1, 2011, 11:00 am

WHERE: Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building, 6820 Webster Street, Landover Hills, MD

WHO: Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, Officials from PEPCO and 1-800-BOARD-UP.  Families that have been saved from a working smoke alarm have been invited to this event to provide their personal story.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

UPDATE - Two Residents Rescued from Chillum Apartment Fire - Sheridan Street

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

UPDATED INFORMATION IS LISTED BELOW

Prince George's County Firefighters battled a second floor apartment fire and rescued two occupants from their Chillum apartment this afternoon.  At around 4:00 pm, Fire/EMS units were dispatched to the 600 block of Sheridan Street for a reported apartment fire.  Firefighters from Chillum Fire/EMS Station #844 arrived first and reported smoke showing from the second floor of a three story apartment building.  Firefighters were alerted by residents that other residents were trapped in their apartments.  Firefighters from Hyattsville #801 and Chillum-Adelphi #834 and other Fire/EMS Stations worked to locate and remove the trapped occupants from the building.

As one team of firefighters worked to extinguish the fire located in a second floor bedroom other firefighters performed a primary search and located two occupants still inside their apartments.  One occupant was removed via the interior stairwell and another occupant was removed by firefighters using a ground ladder from his third floor apartment.  Both of the rescued adult occupants were transported to Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center with possible smoke inhalation injuries.

The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes.  It appears that nine apartment units will be uninhabitable and residents will be displaced.  The County Citizen Services Unit and American Red Cross will assist with temporary shelter and basic needs supplies.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss estimates are not yet available.

Monday, February 27, UPDATE

Only 1 person, a senior citizen male rescued from the third floor went to the hospital.  The second person was treated on the scene but did not want to go to the hospital.

The fire was caused by a malfunctioning power strip in the bedroom of a second floor apartment.

Fire loss is estimated at $150,000.

Three apartment units are displaced that consist of 6 adults and 6 children - all being assisted by the American Red Cross.

Injured Firefighter Update From the Burn Unit by Their Parents

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

Parents of three volunteer firefighters injured in a house fire on Friday evening spoke to members of the media today to personally describe their sons medical status.  Parents of the three firefighters; McClary, Sorrell and O’Toole, County Fire Chief Bashoor and Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli all spoke.  The group took a moment from the Fourth Floor East Burn Unit at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center and spoke near the front entrance to the hospital.

The mother of Riverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McClary spoke on his behalf and explained that he had been released yesterday.  Fire Fighter McClary suffered injuries to his ribs and burns to both hands.  Cheryl McClary emotionally stated, “We are very thankful and our hearts are still with the ones that are still in hospital.”

Vann and Kathy Sorrell of Buies Creek, North Carolina, and Jeff and Jane O’Toole of Bethpage, New York, each spoke with members of the media.  The parents, no strangers to the fire service, each described their sons current medical status and spoke highly of the care they are receiving at the Burn Unit.  They also spoke highly of the support system provided by members of the fire service and the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation.  Both injured firefighters remain in “Critical” and “Stable” condition.  Their parents describe them as being in relatively good spirits and showing some signs of improvement.  Each has a long road to recovery.

Jeff O’Toole stated his son has at least 6 weeks in the Burn Unit with another 6 months of physical rehabilitation after that.  Kevin O’Toole sustained burns over 40% of his body.  He is scheduled for skin graph procedure on Monday.  Kevin can communicate by talking.

Ethan Sorrell remains intubated, however, is conscious, and communicates by writing notes. He is scheduled for examinations tomorrow that can help determine the extent of his airway burns. 

The Burn Units Medical Staff allowed Ethan to walk over to visit Kevin for a short period of time.

The fathers of both injured are also volunteer firefighters in their hometowns; New York and North Carolina.  They request the Washington, DC area media to share todays press conference  and updates with their counterparts in their respective hometowns as there are family, friends and co-workers waiting on updated news.

The Burn Units Medical Staff allowed Ethan to walk over to visit Kevin for a short period of time. Picture by Marc Bashoor,


Vann and Kathy Sorrell speak with media. (Brady)







County Fire Chief Bashoor and Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli


Jeff O'Toole


Jeff and Jane O'Toole




UPDATE - Family of 2 Critically Injured Firefighters to Address Media

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

The families of two critically injured firefighters, Ethan Sorrell and Kevin O'Toole, will address members of the media on Sunday afternoon.  Both families travelled from out of state to be with their loved one and have remained with them since their arrival.

These firefighters remain hospitalized after sustaining burn injuries in a Riverdale house Friday on Friday evening.

The families will meet the media in the courtyard at the front entrance to the Washington Hospital Center at 1:30 pm, Sunday.  The families will provide an update on the current medical condition of the two firefighters.

I request an email, text or phone call verification if you plan on attending so the Washington Hospital Media Office and Security can prepare for your arrival.

Chillum House Fire - 18th Avenue

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

At  about 3:45 am, Sunday, February 26,  Fire/EMS units were alerted to a house fire in Chillum.  Firefighters arrived at a 2-story single family home in the 8000 block of 18th Avenue with heavy fire showing from the rear of the structure.   It appears the fire may have started on the rear deck with extension to the interior.  At the height of the incident the fire burned through the roof of the home and all firefighters were evacuated to the safety of the exterior where the bulk of the fire was knocked down.  Firefighters re-entered the structure to complete the extinguishment.  The fire was declared out at about 4:25 am.  The occupants were displaced and assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit.  Fire Investigations was on the scene and indicates the cause is under investigation. The fire loss was placed at approximately $150000 total for the structure and contents. No injuries reported. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Statement from Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III on Prince George’s County Fire Fighters Injured in Riverdale House Fire

Statement from Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III on 
Prince George's County Fire Fighters Injured in Riverdale House Fire


For Information Contact:

Scott L. Peterson, 

Deputy Manager of Communications/Press Secretary

Office of Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III

(240) 619-9400 

Upper Marlboro, MD – Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III released the following statement on seven Prince George's County Fire and EMS Department fire fighters who sustained injuries battling a house fire in Riverdale yesterday evening.  At this time two firefighters, Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighters Ethan Sorrell and Kevin O'Toole remain in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center.  A third fire fighter, Riverdale Volunteer, Michael McLary also remains hospitalized for injuries.  Four other injured fire fighters, three from Riverdale and one from College Park, were released and sent home last night.

"My thoughts and prayers are with these brave men and their families and I ask all County residents to do the same.  Our first responders put their lives on the line every day and I know that they are all effected by this tragic incident.  I appreciate their service and their commitment to our residents' safety and security. 

Furthermore, I want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Washington Hospital Center burn unit for their compassion and care of these

courageous men.  I also want to thank the regional fire and emergency community for their thoughts, outreach and concern."

###

UPDATE - Firefighters Remain Hospitalized - Two in Critical Condition

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

Two Firefighters Remain in Critical Condition

Three firefighters remain hospitalized at the Washington Hospital Center after sustaining injuries battling a house fire in Riverdale on Friday evening.  Four other firefighters were treated and released overnight for their injuries.

Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell, 21 years of age, remains in "Critical" condition with burns to his airway.  Family members left Durham NC, last night to be with him today.

Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole, 22 years of age, was evaluated late last night/early this morning as being in "Critical" condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 40% of his body.  Family members from Long Island, NY, were en route last night to be with Kevin.

Riverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McLary, 19 years of age, continued to receive treatment for injuries to his upper body/ribs.  His ribs are not fractured, however, bruised with possible cartilage damage.  He may be released as early as today.  Family members were with him last night.

Dozens of family, friends and fire service personnel have been at the hospital throughout the night with the injured firefighters and remain there today.  The Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center, their Doctors and staff are the very best at what they do - treating burn patients.  

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department sincerely appreciates the support provided by the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation.  The Foundation is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn patients in the D.C. Metropolitan Area.  Members of the Foundation were at the hospital before the first firefighter arrived and started support efforts for the injured firefighters, family and co-workers.  Two of the injured firefighters have primary family members coming from out of town.  The Foundation made accommodations for them at a nearby hotel and will continue to provide support for as long as is needed.

Firefighters that have been previously burned and treated at the Burn Unit become members of a fraternity.  These firefighters return to the Burn Unit whenever a firefighter receives burn injuries and provide valuable insight to family, friends and co-workers about the treatment and recovery process.  One of those fraternity members is Riverdale Volunteer Chief Chuck Ryan.  He sustained critical burn injuries while on the job with DCFD.  Ryan was at the Burn Unit overnight helping others to understand the treatment process that Bladensburg firefighters were receiving and what to expect in the days to come.


The volunteer leadership of Blandensburg, Riverdale, College Park as well as Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and the entire Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department acknowledge and are grateful for the tremendous outpouring and offers of assistance from fire departments across the National Capitol Region.  We are also inspired by the numerous well wishes, thoughts and prayers being offered from across the Country for our injured firefighters.


Prince George's County Fire Investigators continue their work to determine the cause and origin of the fire.  The investigation is open and on-going.  Fire loss to the vacant structure is estimated at $75,000.


Updates on the medical condition of the injured firefighters will be provided as additional information becomes available.


Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor will be at the Washington Hospital Center and will make himself available for comment anytime after 9:30 am.  Please contact me to make arrangements.

Seven Firefighters Injured Battling Riverdale House Fire


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

Seven Prince George’s County Firefighters were injured as they battled a house fire in Riverdale.  At about 9:11 pm, Friday, February 24, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 6400 block of 57th Avenue.  The engine from Riverdale and the truck from Bladensburg were the first to arrive and encountered a 1-story, with basement, single family home with fire on both levels. 

Preliminary reports indicate that firefighters had initiated an interior attack on the fire when a sudden rush of air, fanned by high winds, entered from the rear of the house either from a door or window being opened or broken out.  The sudden addition of a large amount of fresh air into the fire environment created a “fire ball’ inside engulfing the firefighters.  Firefighters did all they could do to escape the untenable conditions that consumed the structure interior.  

Incident commanders immediately called for additional resources by requesting an EMS Task Force and a Fire Task Force as well as ordering the evacuation tones to be sounded.   There were about 65 firefighters, paramedics and incident commanders on the scene.

Firefighters and EMS personnel went to the aid of the injured firefighters and prepared them for transport to the Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center.  The injuries included burns, fractures and lacerations.

Another team of firefighters regrouped outside and re-entered the structure and had the fire extinguished in about 25 minutes after arrival. 

Of the seven firefighters transported; four, 3 from Riverdale and 1 from College Park, will be released and sent home tonight. 

The most seriously injured firefighters are two from the Bladensburg Fire/EMS Station #809 that were part of the first arriving truck company.  

Bladensburg Volunteer Firefighter #1 is listed in “Critical” condition suffering from burn injuries to his upper body.

Bladensburg Volunteer Firefighter #2 is listed in “Serious” condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 30% of his body.

The third firefighter being admitted is from Riverdale Fire/EMS Station #807.  Riverdale Volunteer Firefighter #1 is hospitalized with fractured ribs.

Dozens of fire service members as well as family and friends are with the injured firefighters at the Washington Hospital Center including Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, Riverdale Volunteer Fire Chief Chucky Ryan and Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and fire loss estimates are not yet available.  This is a vacant structure although firefighters believed the house may have been occupied as a car was parked in the driveway.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will fully investigate this incident and review all aspects of the operations from a safety perspective.
  
Updates concerning the medical status and the cause and origin of the fire will be made as information becomes available.

Fire coming from the rear of the 1-story house on 57th Avenue. (McNeel)




Friday, February 24, 2012

Kitchen Fire Extinguished by Sprinklers - Mom Under Arrest

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us
Carreen Koubek, Laurel City Police Department, 240-454-4934

A residential sprinkler activated, contained a kitchen fire and spared a Laurel family from tragedy this afternoon.  By the time the event had concluded a mother of 2 young children was under arrest.

At around 1:15 pm, Friday, February 24, 2012, firefighters from the Laurel Fire/EMS Station #849 and Beltsville Fire/EMS Station #831 were alerted to investigate an automatic fire alarm at a 3-story apartment building in the 600 block of Main Street in Laurel.  Firefighters arrived to find an apartment  filled with smoke from ceiling to floor and remnants of a kitchen fire.  The kitchen fire had been extinguished by an activated residential sprinkler.

FIrefighters ensured the fire was completely extinguished and made a disturbing discovery while conducting a search of the apartment.  Two young children, ages 1 and 3, were found just outside of the kitchen area.  They were wet from being sprayed with water from the sprinklers that doused the fire.  Their mother, a 33 year old female, was also located in the apartment.  She was reported to have passed out while under the influence of an unknown substance.

The three occupants were removed from the hazardous atmosphere and tended to by EMT's.  The EMS Duty Officer reported to the scene and used an pulse oximeter to determine if the children were in danger of smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide injuries.  Fortunately, it was determined that they did not need hospitalization and custody of the children was turned over to their grandmother.  

According to Jim Collins of the City of Laurel Police Department, "The mother, Ciarra Williams, was arrested and charged with "Reckless Endangerment" and two counts of "Child Abuse." 

The cause of the fire is "unattended cooking" and fire loss estimated at $500.  The residential sprinkler is credited with containing the fire and limiting the amount of damage as well as injuries to the apartment occupants.

VFW Announce Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year

MEDIA CONTACT: Diane V. Cunningham, Press Information Office, 301-883-5222

The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department received notification that two of our members have been selected to receive a very prestigious award. The Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) chose Fire Fighter/Medic Stephanie A. Buffum as their organization’s “2011 Paramedic of the Year.” The organization’s choice for “2011 Fire Fighter of the Year” is Fire Fighter Nicole Orme.  Both Buffum and Orme will be awarded at the Post and District levels.

Fire Fighter/Medic Buffum, according to the VFW, is being recognized for her “extraordinary knowledge in the medical field, keen ability to problem solve, attention to detail, and profound dedication to the citizens she serves and protects. Her 12 years of service and accomplishments is just a short testament that she loves what she does, and bigger and better things are coming her way.”

Upon being told of her award, Buffum stated, “I am excited and honored to have been selected for this award.”


Fire Fighter Orme, the VFW stated, “has a history of serving our fellow soldiers, including mobilizing the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and community to create military care packages for more than 100 soldiers serving overseas.  She has made multiple visits to Walter Reed to present care packages to the wounded warriors and their families.  Fire Fighter Orme has worked with the USO Metro out of Fort Meade, coordinating multiple dinners during Thanksgiving and Christmas, whereby hundreds of soldiers unable to be home for the holidays and the families of deployed soldiers were able to a meal.  Fire Fighter Orme makes her family, Department, and community very proud.  It is an honor to present her as our organization’s 2011 Fire Fighter of the Year.” 

“I am both humbled and grateful to be recognized for doing something I absolutely love,” said Fire Fighter Orme.

The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded or sick and were left to care for themselves, as there was no medical care or veterans' pension for them.

In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.

Annually, the 2.1 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary contribute more than 11 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.
Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "I am extremely proud that such a noble organization as the VFW has selected two of our personnel for these impressive awards.  The awards reflect favorably on Nicole and Stephanie as individuals and on the entire Fire/EMS Department.  Congratulations."
Fire Fighter/Medic Buffum and Fire Fighter Orme will be presented their awards at a ceremony in March 2012.


Fire Fighter/Medic Stephanie A. Buffum VFW’s “2011 Paramedic of the Year.”

The VFW’s choice for “2011 Fire Fighter of the Year” is Fire Fighter Nicole Orme

Friday Weather Alerts Need Your Attention

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

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Wind Advisory and a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Friday afternoon through midnight.  The Fire Weather Warning is no longer active, however, they warned that high winds and low relative humidity may pose an enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires on Saturday.

This afternoons weather includes high winds which could bring down trees and overhead utility lines.  Any downed utility line should be considered "live" or "energized" and avoided.  If you see a downed line call 911.

There is a potential for afternoon thunderstorms as well.  Citizens and residents should take all precautions to stay safe.

Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe.

Stay Informed by monitoring weather broadcasts on TV, radio and the Internet.
Stay Ready by having your home emergency kit prepared and ready to use.
Stay Safe by being informed and ready and making good common sense decisions about safety.

Follow PGFDPIO on Twitter for up to the minute weather alerts and breaking news.

FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE


Wind Advisory

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
353 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2012

353 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2012

...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO MIDNIGHT
EST TONIGHT...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON HAS
ISSUED A WIND ADVISORY...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS
AFTERNOON TO MIDNIGHT EST TONIGHT.

* TIMING...THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH
  THIS EVENING.

* WINDS...SOUTHWEST LATE THIS AFTERNOON 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP 55 MPH...
  BECOMING WEST THIS EVENING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIND GUSTS OVER 45 MPH ARE EXPECTED.
WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT...ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH
PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.


Hazardous Weather Outlook

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BALTIMORE MD/WASHINGTON DC
513 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2012


513 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2012

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR THE MARYLAND PORTION OF THE
CHESAPEAKE BAY...TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER...AND ADJACENT COUNTIES IN
CENTRAL MARYLAND AND NORTHERN VIRGINIA AS WELL AS THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT

A GALE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE WATERS THROUGH TONIGHT. A
STORM WARNING MAY BE NEEDED FOR PORTIONS OF THE WATERS LATE THIS
AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS ARE POSSIBLE THIS AFTERNOON. THUNDERSTORMS
WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING DAMAGING WIND GUSTS AND HAIL. THE
BEST CHANCE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE ALONG AND EAST OF THE
INTERSTATE 95 CORRIDOR.

A WIND ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING FOR THE
OUTLOOK AREA. PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST HAZARD MESSAGE /NPWLWX/
FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY

A WIND ADVISORY MAY BE NEEDED FOR PORTIONS OF THE AREA SATURDAY.

GUSTY WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY MAY POSE AN ENHANCED THREAT
FOR THE SPREAD OF WILDFIRES SATURDAY.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION MAY BE NEEDED THIS AFTERNOON.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fire/EMS Department Adopts Kwikpoint Visual Language Translator

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

Prince George’s County Councilmember Will Campos
described Kwikpoint the best by calling it,
“A simple yet powerful tool.”


A Kwikpoint visual language tool allows people to communicate both basic needs and complex ideas quickly and easily by simply pointing to universally recognized graphics and symbols. The Kwikpoint tool is compact and can be opened to display an array of pictures and diagrams as well as commonly used phrases in both English and Spanish. A paramedic that encounters a patient and is unable to communicate verbally can use this tool and point to a graphic and quickly learn where a victim feels pain. During a Press conference held today in Hyattsville, Prince George’s County Councilmember Will Campos described the Kwikpoint the best by calling it, “A simple yet powerful tool.”


The Fire/EMS Department has distributed a Medical Visual Language Translator on all EMS units in Prince George’s County. The product was purchased through a Federal Grant to the Office of Homeland Security.


Fire/EMS Chief Bashoor announced all EMS units have been equipped with VLT.

"FIRE WEATHER WATCH" Posted for Friday Afternoon

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

The National Weather Service has posted a seldom used "Fire Weather Watch" for Prince George's County and other surrounding jurisdictions for Friday afternoon.  We ask everyone to heed the watch and warnings.


Event:Fire Weather Watch
Alert:
...FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FRIDAY AFTERNOON FOR PORTIONS OF 
MARYLAND...NORTHERN VIRGINIA AND THE EASTERN WEST VIRGINIA PANHANDLE... 
 
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN STERLING VIRGINIA HAS ISSUED A 
FIRE WEATHER WATCH...IN EFFECT FRIDAY AFTERNOON. 
 
* HUMIDITY...25 TO 30 PERCENT. 
 
* WINDS...WEST 25 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH. 
 
* FUEL MOISTURE...5 TO 7 PERCENT.
Instructions:A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST TO OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.


It was just over a year ago when similar weather condition existed and a warning issued.  February 19, 2011, was the busiest brush fire day in the history of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department. See the recap of that story here.

Citizens, residents and visitors are asked to exercise extreme safety measures during these warnings.


  • Dispose of smoking materials in an appropriate container and ensure they are completely extinguished.  Do not discard these items into any open area as they may start a fire that will spread rapidly.  Do not dispose of smoking materials out of your vehicle when traveling.


  • Business owners and property managers should have appropriate disposable containers in areas where smoking occurs outside.


  • Do not burn brush or trash ever without appropriate approval.


  • We request that you not use outside grills or cooking equipment during these times.  If you must, ensure you have some type of extinguishing agent nearby (water hose, bucket of sand, fire extinguisher, etc.)


  • If you have fireplace ashes; you must put them into a sealed metal container placed on a concrete surface away from any structures.  If possible - wait to clean your fireplace until this weather event is over.
  • Use common sense and practice sound fire safety habits.


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