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Saturday, February 25, 2012

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)

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