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Friday, February 10, 2012

Police Officers Receive Fire Chiefs Award and Commendation

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

Placing themselves in harm’s way while protecting and assisting others is a risk police officers encounter on a daily basis. Recently, four Prince George’s County police officers were subjected to a different type of danger when they entered a burning apartment and assisted in evacuating the building’s residents. Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, citing the officer’s actions as above and beyond their normal call of duty, presented each of them with the Fire Chief’s Award and a glowing letter of commendation. The awards ceremony was held at the College Park Fire/EMS Station #812, where the boarded up windows of the fire damaged sixth floor unit at the Spellman House could be seen just a block away.

Fire Chief Bashoor was joined by County Police Chief Mark A. Magaw, in presenting the awards to Police Corporal Eric N. Lee, Police Officer First Class Daniel Gonzalez, Police Officer Jonathan A. Eyler, and Police Corporal Matthew K. Ling.

On Saturday, February 4, 2012, at approximately 2:30 P.M., police officers observed smoke billowing from the window of a sixth floor unit in the Spellman House Apartments. The building, located in College Park, is occupied by senior citizens and mobility challenged individuals. Upon notifying their dispatcher of the fire, consequently ensuring notification of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, the four officers hurried to the seven-story building.

The officers made their way up to the sixth floor and there encountered moderate smoke conditions. After receiving no response at the door of the apartment on fire, the officers forced entry. Without hesitation or fear for their own safety, they entered the smoke-filled unit and searched for occupants. Finding no one inside, they returned to the hallway and realized the audible alarm system was not operational. They determined that residents were not aware of the fire and began knocking on the doors closest to the apartment of origin. They knocked on as many doors as possible, alerting residents of the fire and assisting those who needed help. Shortly thereafter, the Fire/EMS Department arrived and extinguished the fire that was mostly contained by the sprinkler system.

“If not for your quick thinking and immediate action, the outcome of this occurrence could have been tragic,” stated Fire Chief Bashoor. He continued, saying, “For your exceptional performance on the scene of this incident, you are hereby presented the Fire Chief’s Award. Congratulations, and thank you for an outstanding job. Your actions reflect well on you personally and professionally and on the Prince George’s County Police Department, as a whole.”

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and Police Chief Mark Magaw address the Police Officers receiving the commendation for their going above and beyond, without hesitation, to help residents. (BRADY)

Police Chief Magaw,  Corporal Eric N. Lee, Officer 1st Class Daniel Gonzalez, Officer Jonathan A. Eyler and Fire Chief Bashoor.  not Pictured is Police Corporal Matthew K. Ling (unable to attend). (BRADY)

The awards event was attended by many family, friends, police officers and firefighters. (Diane Cunningham - PGFD PIO)

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