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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."

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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)