@PGFDPIO Twitter

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Felony Arrest for Arson in Riverdale Fire

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

A Bladensburg man, a former Riverdale volunteer firefighter, was arrested today and is being charged with First Degree Arson to a dwelling in Riverdale. Gerard McBurnie Dixon Jr. is charged with maliciously setting a fire to a dwelling at 4504 Kennedy Street in Riverdale on June 29, 2008. On that date, firefighters from the Riverdale Fire/EMS Station and other nearby stations were alerted to a house on fire at 3:25 am and arrived to find heavy fire showing. A firefighter sustained minor burn injuries while battling the fire.

Gerard McBurnie Dixon, Jr., DOB of 9/21/88, was arrested out-of-state by law enforcement officials and is awaiting extradition back to Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s County Fire Investigators were assisted by Special Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the County Police Department in the investigation which led to the arrest. The investigation remains open and additional arrests are possible.

First Degree Arson is a Felony and if convicted, Dixon could face up to 30 years imprisonment or a fine not to exceed $50,000 or both.

Being as this is an open and on-going investigation, no additional information is available.  No photo of the suspect is available.

Q&A and Awards Abound in Whirlwind Fire/EMS Station Visits

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

Prince George's County Fire/EMS Chief Marc S. Bashoor spent a large portion of his time on Monday and Tuesday visiting Fire/EMS Stations greeting personnel and presenting awards.  In addition to greeting career, civilian and volunteer personnel he presented Emergency Services Awards, Fire Storm Awards and engaged the personnel in an open question and answer session.  During these two days Bashoor visited 4 Battalions, 7 Fire/EMS Stations, greeted personnel from 16 Fire/EMS Stations that include just over 100 career, civilian and volunteer personnel.  He awarded 12 Emergency Services Awards and 8 Fire Storm Awards.  Bashoor found the time to attend a Public Safety Breakfast at the Laurel Fire/EMS Station #810 on Tuesday morning.

Fire Storm Awards are plaques which commemorate what is believed to be the busiest day in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Departments history.  On February 19, 2011, high winds and dry conditions sparked seven major incidents that sent all 45 Fire/EMS Stations into action and required mutual aid assistance from jurisdiction across the State of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Every Fire/EMS Station will receive a plaque to be prominently displayed in the station to commemorate the date.

Fire Chief Bashoor also presented numerous Emergency Services Awards to deserving career and volunteer personnel.  These Awards include:

Rescue efforts of four trapped occupants from a Bowie house fire
Rescue efforts of Branchville Volunteer Firefighter
Rescue efforts of career and volunteer firefighters at scene of triple fatal house fire
Quick thinking Firefighter saves motorist from auto fire

Third Battalion at District Heights Fire/EMS Station 826

Fire Chief Bashoor displays a Fire Storm Plaque
Second Battalion at Bowie Fire/EMS Station #839 (Monday)

Second Battalion at Bowie Fire/EMS Station 839 (Tuesday)


Fourth Battalion at Chillum Fire/EMS Station #844

Branchville Fire/EMS Station # 811 in College Park

College Park and Hyattsville Volunteers at College Park Fire/EMS Station #812
Q & A at District Heights Fire/EMS Station #826

Q & A at Bowie Fire/EMS Station #839

Q & A at Branchville Fire/EMS Station #811

Q & A at College Park Fire/EMS Station #812

Emergency Service Awards - Multiple Firefighters - Career and Volunteer

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

Prince George's County Fire/EMS Chief Marc S. Bashoor presented several Emergency Services Awards to deserving, career and volunteer, members of the Department for their actions on a house fire in Lewisdale.


On Sunday, November 27, 2011,  these personnel were crew members onboard fire apparatus from several companies which responded to a house fire at 2411 Griffen Street in the Chillum-Adelphi area.  On arrival,  crews encountered a working fire with three victims possibly trapped inside the residence.  Some personnel entered the premise ahead of the hose line and searched in high heat conditions with low visibility while one took command of the incident and than proceeded to transition his abilities from incident commander to firefighter to paramedic throughout the course of the incident.  Firefighters located three unconscious victims in different areas of the house and with the assistance of other crew members, removed the victims to the exterior of the house to awaiting EMS units.

Despite the outstanding efforts of all personnel on the scene, sadly, all three victims succumbed to their injuries after arriving at the hospital.

Fire Chief Bashoor was able to personally greet and present Emergency Services Awards to personnel from Chillum, Hyattsville and College Park on Tuesday, January 24.  In making the award presentations he stated, "For your performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident, you are hereby presented a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Service Award.  Congratulations and thank you for a job well done!  Your actions represent the excellent service our Department strives to provide to the citizens of Prince George’s County."

The following personnel were presented with Emergency Services Awards  

Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844
Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Russell Poe


College Park Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Fire Fighter Troy Dannenfelser

College Park Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Sergeant Timothy Curran

College Park Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Sergeant Matthew McSherry

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Fire Fighter Henery Sullivan

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Fire Fighter Daniel Leyden

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Fire Fighter Matthew Lauria


Volunteer Firefighter recipients from Hyattsville and College Park with Hyattsville Volunteer Chief David Hang, College Park Volunteer Chief Bill Corrigan, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, Deputy Fire Chief Neal Dennis, Major Paul Cruz and Major Adon Snyder.

Also receiving Emergency Services Awards are:

Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department
Volunteer Lieutenant Ben Ross
Volunteer Firefighter Chris Hagan



Emergency Services Award - Volunteer Fire Fighter Derek Daves

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


On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Prince George's County Fire/EMS Chief Marc S. Bashoor presented an Emergency Services Award to Branchville Volunteer Fire Fighter John "Derek" Daves.  In making the presentation Bashoor stated, "In making awards presentations, it's not always about the end result, which in this incident was tragic, but the actions of the individual or group that made the effort and did the best that they could do under the circumstances."

In a ceremony at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department in College Park Chief Bashoor presented the Emergency Services Award which was accompanied by a letter that read;
        
On the evening Friday, November 4, 2011, while on your way home after working Bingo at the Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, Inc., you witnessed a horrific three-vehicle crash on eastbound Route 50.  There were a total of six passengers involved in the accident, four adults and two children.  The two children were trapped in a burning vehicle that had burst into flames after being struck by another vehicle.  You notified 911 of the incident, and without the protection of fire fighting gear or protective equipment, you immediately advanced to the burning vehicle.  Hearing the screams of the bystanders alerting you of the trapped children and in an effort to access them, you aggressively attempted to open doors or break out the windows.  However, the intensity of the fire, combined with thick black smoke and extreme heat, forced you to retreat without being able to make the rescue.   

You painfully described seeing the two children inside the burning car as a vision that will be indelibly etched in your mind.  It was later determined that the damage to the vehicle was so severe that access would only have been possible with the heavy-duty hydraulic equipment that is typically used by firefighters.

You acted without hesitation or concern for your personal safety, while attempting to save the lives of the two young victims.  As a result of your actions, you sustained some minor burn injuries to your hand and exposure to the intense heat and thick smoke. 

Chief Bashoor presented the award saying, "For your performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident, you are hereby presented a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Service Award. 
Congratulations again, and thank you for an outstanding job.  Your actions represent the excellent service our Department strives to provide to the citizens of Prince George’s County."

Fire Chief Bashoor and Derek Daves.

The award presentation was attended by Derek's wife; Tracey, co-workers from the City of College Park, PGFD Majors Cruz and Snyder, PGFD Deputy Fire Chief Neal Dennis and several volunteer members from Branchville.


Emergency Services Award - Fire Fighter Michael Shipp

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

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor presented an Emergency Services Award to Fire Fighter Michael Shipp.  The award presentation was made at a brief ceremony at the District Heights Community Fire/EMS Station.

A letter accompanying the award stated;  On Friday, August 12, 2011, you were a member of the crew onboard the ambulance from Morningside Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Station 827, which was transporting a patient to Prince George’s Hospital Center.  The unit was near the intersection of Forestville Road and northbound Route 95, when you noticed a cloud of dark smoke and what appeared to be flames underneath a Hummer SUV.  You promptly contacted Public Safety Communications, advising them of the matter and requesting additional resources.  The SUV’s driver was engaged in conversation on her cell phone, making it difficult to alert her to the situation.  Upon finally getting her attention, the woman remained on the phone and even accelerated before eventually pulling onto the right shoulder.  She did not readily believe the SUV was on fire and had to be physically removed from the vehicle.  After realizing you were telling the truth, she proceeded to the ambulance, where the crew kept her out of harm’s way.  Meanwhile, you made every effort to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.  Your quick thinking and immediate action are directly responsible for changing the outcome of what potentially could have been a tragedy.   

In making the award presentation, Fire Chief Bashoor stated, "For your performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident, you are hereby presented a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Service Award. 
Congratulations and thank you for an outstanding job!  Your actions represent the excellent service our Department strives to provide to the citizens of Prince George’s County."

Fire Chief Bashoor, Fire Fighter Shipp and his daughter at award presentation at the District Heights Fire/EMS Station.
Story that aired on NBC 4 News the day of the incident.

The High School Fire/EMS Department Cadet Program

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

Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) and the Prince George's County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department will begin training the next generation of firefighters and emergency medical personnel in the fall.

The High School Fire/EMS Department Cadet Program was jointly announced at a press conference on Friday, January 20, 2012, at the Fire/EMS Training Academy in Cheltenham.  County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety Barry Stanton were on hand for the event.  Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, state, “One of the things we need to do better, and we recognize this, is to recruit more of our youth.  We need to get into the schools and get them interested in service and that’s what this program is going to do is to get us out there and give youth a fighting chance that they may not have otherwise had.” 

The High School Fire/EMS Cadet Program commences with the 2012-2013 school year and will recruit up to twenty-four 11th graders at Charles Flowers High School in Springdale.  It is expected that upon entering 12th grade, those students will continue into the second year of the program.  Subsequently, an additional twenty-four 11th graders will enter the program, making a total of forty-eight participants. 

This two-year program will allow students to take fire and emergency medical services classes, while providing 17 college credits to those who successfully complete the curriculum.  Additionally, students will graduate from the program with all necessary training to be nationally certified as firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.

“We are equipping our students with the necessary tools to succeed, while helping the county to meet future public safety workforce needs,” said Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Superintendent of Schools.

“This is not only about helping in public service, it’s helping our education system making our children career and college ready.” Sated County Executive Baker, he concluded by saying, “It’s an exciting day for Prince George’s County.”

Charles Flowers High School was selected partly because of its close proximity to the Department’s newest facility, St. Josephs Fire/EMS Station #806.  The station, which is adjacent the school, has both a training tower and classroom.  Students can walk the 200 or so yards to the station where they will receive instruction in fire and emergency medical services.   

On Friday, PGCPS and Prince George’s County officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the cadet program.  In celebration of this joint venture and to “seal the deal” Dr. Hite, County Executive Baker, Fire Chief Bashoor, and Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale then participated in a live fire evolution at the Fire/EMS Academy’s burn building.  The press conference was attended by several members of the Prince George's County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and members of the Fire Chief's Community Advisory Council.



Dr. William R. Hite Jr., Superintendent of Schools.

Marc S. Bashoor, Prince George's County Fire/EMS Chief

County Executive Rushern L. Baker III
County Executive Baker stands up in the burn building to feel the difference in heat levels from the floor up.
PGFD Deputy Fire Chief Ben Barksdale, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, Dr. William Hite and County Executive Rushern Baker after "sealing the deal" in the burn building.