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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Firefighters Recognized with Congressional Record

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

An event was held at the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday, June 12, that included Congressional recognition for seven volunteer firefighters and the Fire/EMS Department.  Congresswoman Donna Edwards presented plaques to firefighters that were injured on a house fire in Riverdale in late February of the year.  

“I am honored to recognize the courage and bravery of these seven Prince George’s County firefighters who made personal sacrifices in the line of duty to ensure our safety and well-being,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “Our firefighters deserve our utmost respect, as many volunteer to take on the daily responsibility of protecting our communities, facing unknown dangers and diminishing resources.   They are our heroes, and I wish each of them quick and full recoveries.   I thank them for their service and commitment to the citizens of Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland.”

Receiving a framed copy of the Congressional Record were Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighters Kevin O'Toole and Ethan Sorrell, Riverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McClary and College Park Volunteer Fire Fighter Ari Schloss.  Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor was presented a plaque on behalf of the entire Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department. Riverdale Volunteer Firefighters Michael Olszewski, Roberto Ramirez and Michael Naples were unable to attend the event.

During his comments Fire Chief Bashoor thanked Congresswoman Edwards for her support and spoke of the ongoing safety investigation of the incident where the firefighters were injured.  Bashoor stated, "The Safety Investigation Team is conducting a detailed analysis of the circumstances surrounding this incident and these injuries.  I believe that analysis will provide the basis for the Fire/EMS Department to make improvements that will minimize the possibility of these types of injuries occurring again.  It is important for everyone to understand - it does not appear that everything went perfectly at this incident - it rarely does.  The Safety Investigation Teams work is a crucial step in the Fire/EMS Departments growth of a culture of risk-based safety." He concluded with, "Our solemn responsibility is to each and every Dept and family member - that we will keep safety first and do everything we possibly can to ensure everyone goes home."

The event was well attended by members of the Fire/EMS Department Command Staff, volunteer members from Bladensburg, Riverdale, College Park, Kentland and Hyattsville.  Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzil served as the host and the Ladies Auxiliary provided an outstanding meal for everyone in attendance.  Thanks to all involved in making this a successful event.

Thanks also to Congresswoman Donna Edwards and her hard working staff.  It is good to know that our elected officials at the Congressional level are watching and supporting us at the local level.  You can't get any more "grass-roots" then recognizing your local firefighters for the job that they do every day.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards speaks about the morning she woke up to the news that seven firefighters were injured in Prince George's County in February. (Brady)

Congresswoman Edwards reads a copy of the Congressional Record that she entered after learning of the incident.

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor accepts a copy of the Congressional Record on behalf of the entire Fire/EMS Department.

Kevin O'Toole, the most seriously injured of the seven firefighters, speaks as Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Kuenzil, Chief Bashoor and Congresswoman Edwards listen and watch.

Congresswoman Edwards, Jane O'Toole (mom), Kevin O'Toole, Jeff O'Toole (dad) and Fire Chief Bashoor.

Congresswoman Edwards, Ethan Sorrell and Fire Chief Bashoor

Riverdale Volunteer Michael McClary, family with Congresswoman Edwards and Fire Chief Bashoor.

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