Sunday, April 28, 2013
Fire/EMS units from the Chapel Oaks area were alerted to a house fire at about 4:30 pm. Firefighters arrived at a 2-story single family home with fire showing. Firefighters knocked the fire down within 15 minutes. The Incident Commander determined the cause of the fire was electrical in nature and estimated fire loss at $100,000. The County Citizen Services Unit assisted the family of 6; 4 adults and 2 teenagers, with displacement assistance.
A unrelated home fire occurred just 15 minutes later at 9317 Kimbark Avenue in Lanham. Fire/EMS units responded to this fire at 4:45 pm and arrived at 9317 Kimbark Avenue, a 1-story with basement single family home, with fire showing. There were about 40 firefighter/medics working on the scene of this incident that required about 30 minutes to knock down. First arriving firefighters advanced hose lines into the home and were conducting a search of the basement for an unaccounted occupant. Fire conditions continued to intensify and the Incident Commander ordered all firefighters to evacuate. The unaccounted occupant was soon located at a neighbors home and was not injured. Firefighters regrouped and re-entered the home and extinguished the fire. Fire Investigators believe this fire may have started on the rear exterior of the home and extended to the interior. The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire Investigators determined an estimated fire loss at $75,000.
The Citizen Services Unit assisted the displaced occupants.
Mark E. Brady
Bashoor was requested by many for a photo op, here a just a few.
|Marc Bashoor and wife Laura|
|Pete Mellits, Past Chief of the Bowie VFD and President of the Eastern Division of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (EIAFC) with Chief Bashoor and PGFD Assistant Fire Chief Ron Bridges|
|Bashoor and Bridges|
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Firefighters made their way to a second floor bedroom where the fire originated and initiated an interior attack. The fire extended up into the attic area before being extinguished. The adjacent townhouse was not damaged, however, vinyl siding on the adjacent row of townhouses melted from the heat of the fire some 50 feet away.
There were about 50 firefighters on the scene. The bulk of the fire was knocked down with 15 minutes of arrival.
The fire appears to have started in the second floor master bedroom. The cause remains under investigation but does not appear suspicious. Fire loss is estimated at $150,000. An adult female occupant and her dog will be displaced and are being assisted by the Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross.
No injuries were reported.
Video and images by Mark E. Brady
On Saturday, February 29, 2013, Bowman and Pressley were the crew on board the Paramedic Unit from Fire/EMS Station 830 that was dispatched to a home on 58th Place in Cheverly for a report of a female in labor. During the patient assessment, the medics observed an umbilical cord presentation without any sign of birth. Umbilical cord presentation or prolapse is a rare obstetrical emergency that occurs when the umbilical cord descends alongside or beyond the fetal presenting part. It is life-threatening to the fetus since blood flow through the umbilical vessels is usually compromised from compression of the cord between the fetus and the uterus, cervix, or pelvic inlet.
The cord presented blue in color, indicating there was no blood getting to the baby from the mother. If this child was going to survive, it was imperative that something be done quickly. Relying on their training, Paramedic Pressley inserted her hand in the birth canal and alleviated pressure on the umbilical cord being caused by the baby moving down the birth canal. With her hand in place, the cord became pink and she felt a pulse. The medic crew were relieved to know the baby was now receiving blood. Having alleviated pressure on the umbilical cord, she could not remove her hand until directed by a physician to do so. Paramedic Bowman consulted with physicians at the Prince George’s Hospital Center and informed them of the severity of the situation, as well as alerted to prepare a delivery room. Immediately upon arriving at the hospital, the patient was assessed and without delay taken to Labor and Delivery. The physician determined that Pressley must accompany the patient into the Operating Room, where an emergency Cesarean Section would be performed. Her hand remained in place, keeping pressure off the umbilical cord until the baby was delivered. After a week in the hospital, the healthy baby girl, delivered at 36 weeks gestation, was discharged into the care of her parents.
For their performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident that resulted in saving the life of baby, Fire Fighter/Medic John A. Bowman and Fire Fighter/Medic Kacie E. Pressley were awarded a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Service Award.
In making the presentation, Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "Congratulations and thank you for an outstanding job. Your actions reflect favorably on you, the Fire/EMS Department, and Prince George’s County Government as a whole. I believe that this is the first time in the history of providing advanced life support in Prince George's County that a paramedic had to join labor and delivery in the OR with an emergency C-section"
|Bowman, Pressley and Bashoor|
|Bowman, Pressley, PGHC's Director of Emergency Services Mark Arsenault and Fire Chief Bashoor|
|Pressley responds to media questions.|
At about 7:30 am, Friday, April 26, firefighters and paramedics were alerted to a house fire with the dispatcher providing additional information that the County Police were on the scene dealing with a disorderly person. Police had been dispatched and arrived at the location after being dispatched for a domestic situation.
Police officers arrived to find that an 18-year-old male was involved in a domestic with other family members at his mother’s house. It is alleged that he physically removed his grandfather from the house, re-entered and intentionally set fire to the home’s interior and remained inside. Arriving police officers notified their dispatcher to alert the Fire Department and proceeded to use fire extinguishers from their cruisers in an attempt to knock down the fire located just inside a 1st floor window. The fire continued to grow in intensity and the officers were forced back from the intense heat and thick smoke now consuming that portion of the house. The teen appeared in a second floor window and with the heat and smoke surrounding him; he retreated to the roof just above where the fire was located. At some point the teen dispensed an unknown type of product down onto the police officers trying to coax him down. Fearing the product may be flammable the officers retreated a safe distance from the fire all the while continuing to try to talk the teen down off of the roof which was now on fire.
Firefighters from Oxon Hill arrived at 5609 Woodland Drive in the Forest Heights community to find the 2-story home with heavy fire and smoke showing from the first floor. The crews witnessed numerous police officers on the scene and a subject on the roof. Crews prepared themselves to advance hose lines into the house as the teen on the roof, now nearly invisible from the thick smoke, jumped to the ground and was immediately taken into custody.
After the scene appeared safe with the subject in custody, firefighters entered the structure and extinguished the fire within 15 to 20 minutes.
The male was transported to a hospital by paramedics for a mental and physical evaluation of any possible injuries and other medical conditions. No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
Prince George’s County Fire Investigators are leading the investigation into this incident. The cause of the fire is incendiary with fire loss estimated at $80,000. An adult female, the teen’s mother, will be displaced and assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross.
Fire Investigators stated that charges against the 18-year-old male include 1st Degree Arson, 1st Degree Malicious Burning, 1st Degree Destruction of Property and 10 counts of 1st Degree Assault on a Police Officer. The Fire/EMS Department is not releasing the teens name because he was treated and transported and is protected by HIPAA and patient privacy laws.
The following video shows the burning home with the teen walking on the roof just prior to him jumping off and taken into custody. It has been edited by the Fire/EMS Department to link 2 cell phone video clips together and to remove audio. The cell phone video was obtained from public safety personnel documenting the unfolding scene.
Firefighters from Oxon Hill arrived at 5609 Woodland Drive to find a 2 story home with fire showing from the first floor, reports of a male walking on the roof just above the fire and numerous police on the scene.
It was reported the suspect set the house on fire. Police Officers used fire extinguishers from their cruisers in an attempt to extinguish the fire but the fire was too far advanced to have any effect on the fire.
The male jumped from the roof to escape the intense heat and was immediatley taken into custody.
After the scene was declared safe with the subject in custody, firefighters entered the structu r e and extinguished the fire within 15 to 20 minutes. No injuries were reported.
The male was transported to a hospital for mental evaluation, treament for possible injuries and other medical conditions.
Fire Investigators are documenting the scene and will be charging the male with First Degree Arson, Malicious Destruction of Property, Assault on a Police Officer and other charges.
Additional information will be posted when availiable.
Mark E. Brady
Prince George's County Fire/EMS
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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Firefighter Recruits are Scheduled to be Joined by County Executive in Run Across the WWB on Friday Morning
A class of recruit firefighters will run across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in what has become a tradition of the soon to graduate personnel. Everyone is invited to either run or walk across the pedestrian path starting near the National Harbor across the WWB into Virginia and return.
Career Recruit School #47 is scheduled to be joined by County Executive Rushern L. Baker, Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, fire academy instructors and others during the run. Anyone wishing to participate should gather by 7:45 am, Friday, April 26 for a start time of 8:00 am.
The best access for media is a path located in the rear of the new gas station located on National Harbor Boulevard, vehicles can not drive on path but it is within walking distance of the gas station.
Participants should park at the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Police Substation on National Harbor Boulevard.
A pair of Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics will be recognized for extraordinary medical care
performed during childbirth. The actions of one of these paramedics undoubtedly saved the life of an about-to-be-born infant. The Firefighter/Medic crew will be recognized by the Fire/EMS Department as well as hospital staff at Prince George's Hospital Center.
The care provided by one particular paramedic will be highlighted as her story and performance during this incident goes beyond just delivering a patient to the hospital labor and delivery room. Her story is remarkable and must be heard.
WHAT: Recognition of exemplary care by Paramedics
WHEN: Friday, April 26, 1:00 pm
WHERE: Prince George's Hospital Center - 4th Floor
The recognition will be in the Medical Staff Conference Room on the 4th Floor of the ACF Building. The ACF is at the front part of the hospital and does not connect to the fourth floor of the old building, so you have to take the elevators from the Main Lobby which is next / on the same floor to the ED.
Once you come off the elevator on the fourth floor. Go right to the end of the hallway, take a left down that hallway, the meeting room is the first door on the left.
WHO: Paramedics receiving recognition, Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, Mark Arsenault - Vice President - DHS Emergency Services, hospital staff as well as co-workers of the Paramedics.
Lunch will be available.
These images were provided courtesy of Jim Davis of pgfdfire.com
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The following members of the Fire/EMS Department were awarded with Valor Medals.
|FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC TECHNICIAN JAMIESON P. SCARLATA|
|FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC EDWARD G. ALDACO|
|PARAMEDIC STEPHEN G. CHAGNON|
|BERWYN HEIGHTS VOLUNTEER DEPUTY CHIEF CHASE J. FABRIZIO|
|BERWYN HEIGHTS VOLUNTEER CAPTAIN RYAN R. WAGNER|
|FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC LEONARD F. COLLINS|
After ensuring the power was off, Fire Fighter/Medic Aldaco and Paramedic Stephen Chagnon entered a dangerous area of the machine and conducted a patient assessment. Upon completing their evaluation and fearing the patient’s legs would need to be amputated in order to extricate him, they requested a surgical team from Shock Trauma. Despite very adverse conditions and placing themselves in harm’s way, they both worked diligently to maintain the victim’s medical status and assist with the extrication. Volunteer Captain Wagner and Volunteer Deputy Chief Fabrizio also entered the mulch dye machine and assisted with developing a plan to speedily remove the patient.
After some time passed, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Scarlata relieved Paramedic Chagnon and entered the machine to maintain the patient’s medical status. Fire Fighter/Medic Collins positioned himself on a ladder above the mulch dye machine to assist the crews on the inside. He worked tirelessly to provide resources and recommendations on the extrication, as well as assisted with the extrication. Fire Fighter/Medic Collins was pivotal in ensuring the safety of rescue personnel, while working diligently from a ladder throughout the entire operation.
After nearly two hours, the victim was extricated without having to remove his legs and is expected to fully recover.
For extreme personal risk and the highest degree of judgment, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Jamieson Scarlata, Fire Fighter/Medic Edward G. Aldaco, and Paramedic Stephen Chagnon, are awarded a Gold Medal of Valor.
For great personal risk and judgment, Volunteer Deputy Chief Chase Fabrizio, Volunteer Captain Ryan Wagner, and Fire Fighter/Medic Leonard F. Collins are awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.
Additionally, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor is pleased to name Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Jamieson Scarlata, Fire Fighter/Medic Edward G. Aldaco, and Paramedic Stephen Chagnon as the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s 2012 Paramedics of the Year.
|FIRE FIGHTER GLENN "TRAVIS" LAMBERT|
|FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC BOBBY J. BLEVINS
|FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC ALEXANDER H. MYERS
The first arriving crew laid a supply line, gave the appropriate return, passed command, and advanced an attack line into the house. Crew member, Fire Fighter Whiting, entered the residence and ascended the stairs to the second floor, encountering zero visibility. He quickly discovered a victim near the top of the stairs and alerted his crew members that he had found someone.
Arriving seconds later, Captain Green, Sergeant Neville, and Fire Fighter Jones entered the burning structure and immediately encountered an adult male victim nearly overcome by smoke and struggling on the first floor. Sergeant Neville and Fire Fighter Jones assisted the victim to safety and placed him in the care of EMS personnel, while the remainder of their crew ascended the stairs to begin searching for the origin of the fire. They arrived at the top of the stairs just as Fire Fighter Whiting called out that he had a victim. Captain Green and Fire Fighter Whiting recovered the unconscious victim, also an adult male, and swiftly removed him to safety.
One patient was transported to Prince George’s Hospital Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The second patient was in transported to Medstar, in critical condition. Both victims have since recovered from their injuries sustained in this incident.
For unusual personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Volunteer Captain Richard Green, Volunteer Sergeant Joseph Neville, Volunteer Fire Fighter Timothy Jones, and Volunteer Fire Fighter Christian Whiting are awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.
Lieutenant Mills, with the assistance of former Volunteer Fire Chief Hugh Owens, a neighborhood resident, carried the female to the front yard and placed her in the care of paramedics. The patient was transported to a Burn Unit facility for treatment. Due to the actions of Lieutenant Mills and the family dog, the woman’s injuries were not life threatening.
For great personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Retired Fire Fighter Lieutenant William H. Mills, Jr., is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC JACOB T. BROWN
In the early morning hours of Monday, February 17, 2012, members of Prince George’s County Public Safety worked together to remove two occupants from the area of a burning townhouse. Police officers on routine patrol saw the heavy smoke and fire coming from 6135 Hil-Mar Drive in District Heights. Officers communicated their location and advised they encountered a 2-story, end-row townhouse with heavy fire showing from the first floor and a child trapped.
Officers Watson and Wormuth went to the home next door when they heard frantic screams from a man trapped on the second floor. They entered the house, now filled with thick black smoke, and crawled up the stairs. Upon reaching the second floor, the officers located an elderly wheelchair-dependent male and carried him down the stairs to safety.
Meanwhile, Officer Johnson separated from his fellow officers and responded to a distraught woman standing in front of the townhouse that was on fire. The officer was able to learn from the woman that her 2-year-old child was still inside a second floor bedroom directly above where the bulk of the fire was located. The first unit to arrive from the Fire/EMS Department was District Heights Fire/EMS Station 826. While en route to the scene, the firefighters were informed by dispatchers that a child was reported still inside the burning townhouse. The first arriving firefighters quickly advanced hose lines into the burning structure and started to knock down the fire. Despite high heat and thick smoke, Fire Captain Doubleday and Fire Fighter/Medic Brewer moved ahead of the hose line and entered the first floor of the home to search for the reportedly trapped child. Not finding anyone on the first floor, with the fire in the stairwell now knocked down, Captain Doubleday and Fire Fighter/Medic Brewer proceeded upstairs to continue searching.
Before any other firefighters arrived, Police Officer Johnson, who is also a volunteer firefighter, retrieved a ground ladder from the fire apparatus and positioned it at the second floor bedroom window, identified by the mother the room were her daughter was located. This action saved valuable seconds, as the second crew to arrive on the scene was immediately able to ascend the ladder. The crew from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829 arrived, and Captain Elie and Fire Fighter/Medic Brown, without the protection of a charged hose line, quickly ascended the ladder that was being held in position by Officer Johnson. Notwithstanding the extreme heat and blinding smoke, Captain Elie entered the bedroom window and after a brief search located the young victim. He then passed her out of the window where Fire Fighter/Medic Smart, who had also ascended the ladder, was waiting to receive the child. The little girl was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Fire Fighter/Medics Smart and Cooke immediately began ALS care, with Fire Fighter/Medic Smart completing a very difficult intubation. The pair was successful in regaining a pulse prior to arriving at a nearby hospital. Tragically, the child succumbed to her injuries a few days later.
For great personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Fire Fighter/Medic Captain John Elie and Fire Fighter/Medic Jacob T. Brown are awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.
For unusual personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Fire Fighter/Medic Battalion Chief Alan C. Doubleday, Fire Fighter/Medic Frederick Brewer, IV, Acting Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Kelli D. Cooke, Fire Fighter/Medic Christopher D. Smart, Police Officer First Class Peter K. Johnson, Police Officer First Class, Ryan L. Watson, and Police Officer First Class Darryl R. Wormuth are awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.
On the afternoon of August 8, 2012, units from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department responded to a fire in the 6300 block of Carrington Court in Capital Heights. These firefighters arrived on the scene, where they encountered a two-story duplex with fire showing on the first floor and a report of 2 children trapped inside. Despite heavy fire and blinding smoke on the first floor, Lieutenant Morehead and Fire Fighter Sims entered the house to search for the trapped occupants. The intense heat had caused the first hose line to burst after the pair came through the door, leaving the 2 firefighters without the protection of a charged hose line.
Not finding anyone on the first floor, Lieutenant Morehead directed Fire Fighter Sims to try making it up the interior stairs. He then advised Fire Fighter Sims that he was going outside to ascend the ladder to the second floor. Lieutenant Morehead entered the burning structure through a bedroom window and was met by heavy, black smoke. Removing the mattress from a bed, he and Fire Fighter Sims Fighter, who had made it upstairs, began searching that area. Lieutenant Morehead discovered the 2 young victims lying on the floor near a window, with an older male child shielding a small female. He alerted Fire Fighter Sims that he had located both victims and needed his help. Fire Fighter Sims advised Volunteer Fire Fighter Dalton of the situation, and the pair assisted Lieutenant Morehead with removing the boy and girl by way of ground ladders.
A five-year-old female and a 15-year-old male were rescued from the burning home. A third victim, an adult male, presented himself with possible burn and smoke injuries and lacerations likely incurred while escaping the fire. An initial assessment revealed the 2 young victims were not breathing and had no pulse. All 3 patients were place in the care of paramedics, who quickly began administering treatment. The 2 critically injured young patients were transported within 5 minutes after Fire/EMS units arrived on the scene, with both regaining a pulse prior to arriving at the hospital.
Although given the best possible pre-hospital care, tragically, both children succumbed to their injuries a short time after reaching the hospital. The adult male has since recovered from his injuries.
For great personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Fire Fighter Lieutenant Michael D. Morehead, Fire Fighter Jonathan M. Sims, and Volunteer Fire Fighter Trey Dalton, are awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.
On Thursday, March 15, 2012, at 9:00 A.M., President Barak Obama was scheduled to visit Prince George's Community College in Largo. William “Hawk” Hawkins was driving his Fire/EMS Department vehicle on John Hanson Highway, Route 50, approaching the Capital Beltway, Route 95/495, when he noticed a Ford pickup truck in front of him weaving wildly across lanes as they took the sky ramp over the beltway. Hawk, fearing for his safety and the safety of other motorists, radioed the incident into Public Safety Communications and requested police assistance to stop the vehicle. He activated his emergency warning devices but kept a distance from the vehicle. Hawk maneuvered his vehicle to match that of the weaving truck and to keep back traffic. The pair passed numerous police cars positioned on the side of the road and awaiting the order to block exits for the arrival of the presidential motorcade.
Hawk continued to keep Public Safety Communications informed of what was happening. The truck, still on the beltway, was now approaching Allentown Road at speeds upwards of 80 mph. Suddenly, it veered into the median strip and then back onto the roadway, barely missing one of the police vehicles waiting for the presidential motorcade. Hawk, continuing to operate alone, advised communications that he was going to "try stopping this guy before he kills someone.” Using his vehicle to force the pickup truck onto the ramp and over a concrete curb, he proceeded to attempt its disablement. The truck weaved across several lanes of traffic as they approached the main gate of Andrews Air Force Base. After forcing the pick up onto a curb at a turn lane, Hawk quickly exited his vehicle and approached it on foot and encountered the driver trying unsuccessfully to reverse the vehicle. He opened the driver’s door, yanked the keys from the ignition, and observed an 84-year-old driver, who, it was ultimately determined, was suffering a diabetic emergency. Hawkins called for fire and EMS units to provide care for the man.
For great personal risk, zeal, and ingenuity, William J. Hawkins is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.
On the afternoon of Monday, February 6, 2012, Fire/EMS units from the Fort Washington area responded to 8314 Bernard Drive for a report of a child who had fallen from a bed. Fire Fighter/Medics Fleming and Phillips arrived on the scene, where they encountered a young male who was semi-conscious and lethargic but responsive to painful stimuli. The patient appeared to improve once inside the ambulance but reverted to a semi-conscious state immediately on transport. At that time, an Advanced Life Support unit was requested to meet the ambulance at Livingston Terrace and Oxon Hill Road. Initially, the ambulance crew was going to transport the child to United Medical Center, a satellite location for Children’s Hospital. However, when the paramedics arrived and further assessed the child, a decision was made to instead transport to Children’s National Medical Center’s main campus in Washington, D.C. An evaluation by the hospital’s emergency staff revealed the patient was suffering from exposure to Carbon Monoxide.
The child’s father, who had accompanied him on transport, was also showing signs and symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. He was notified of the exposure and asked to contact family members still in the home. After several attempts, the man told the emergency room staff that he was unable to reach anyone. The hospital contacted personnel in the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Watch Office and advised them of the situation. Public Safety Communications was alerted and Fire/EMS units were once again dispatched to Bernard Drive, this time for a possible Carbon Monoxide incident.
Fire Fighter/Medics Fleming and Phillips, the ambulance crew that responded on the initial call, were returning from Children’s National Medical Center when they were alerted to return to the scene of the incident. The first to arrive, Fire Fighter/Medics Fleming and Phillips, despite the potentially high levels of Carbon Monoxide, quickly gained access into the residence. Upon searching the home, they found 5 unresponsive occupants—3 children and 2 adults. Fire Fighter/Medics Fleming and Phillips quickly grabbed the children and carried them to safety. Lieutenant Jenkins and Fire Fighter/Medic Bronson arrived on Engine 832 within seconds after the ambulance. The pair rescued the remaining victims, one at a time, from the extremely dangerous atmosphere. After making the rescues, Lieutenant Jenkins and Fire Fighter/Medic Bronson continued to provide Ems care to the adult patients until additional resources arrived.
All of the patients, including the child already at Children’s National Medical Center and his father, were flown to the University of Maryland Baltimore for hyperbaric treatment. Thankfully, everyone has since made a full recovery.
For unusual personal risk and judgment, Fire Lieutenant Thomas D. Jenkins, Fire Fighter/Medic Donald C. Bronson, Fire Fighter/Medic Michael K. Fleming, and Fire Fighter/Medic Miles T. Phillips are awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.
On February 24, 2012, firefighters arrived on the scene of a working house fire at 6404-57th Avenue in Riverdale Heights. Lieutenant Ethan Sorrell and Sergeant Kevin O’Toole had the responsibility of performing search and rescue efforts on the first floor. The two moved ahead of the engine crew and hose line and forced open the front door to begin searching. Lieutenant Sorrell and Sergeant O’Toole knew they had a basement fire and needed to work fast if a victim was to survive the intense heat and blinding smoke. The pair decided to split left and right to seek out any occupants. Just as Lieutenant Sorrell and Sergeant O’Toole met near the center of the house, conditions quickly changed. Suddenly, a significant event occurred that mirrored a flashover and backdraft combined.
Rapidly changing conditions forced Lieutenant Sorrell and Sergeant O’Toole to the floor. The heat level had risen greatly in a matter of seconds; and, with the increasing smoke visibility was now zero. The two firefighters retreated toward the door but with no immediate relief, became disoriented. A “May Day” alert was sounded, and Lieutenant Sorrell and Sergeant O’Toole activated their two-way radio emergency identifier as they desperately attempted to find a way out. Unable to locate the door, they broke out a window but immediately realized it was too small for Lieutenant Sorrell to help Sergeant O’Toole escape. With the heat becoming increasingly unbearable and no sign of assistance from the outside, it was imperative that they find an alternative means of escape. Lieutenant Sorrell located and broke out another window and dove through it. Once outside, he began screaming for crews to get inside to Sergeant O’Toole. He removed his breathing air regulator, thinking no one could hear him if he kept it on. Several other firefighters had also sustained injuries and were lying in the front yard, as other arriving firefighters provided first aid.
Remembering he had promised Sergeant O’Toole he would “be back for him…to hang on,” Lieutenant Sorrell forced open the closed door and reentered the house. This time, his breathing air regulator was not in place. Hooking his foot on the door sill, he swept the floor and located his barely conscious fallen comrade. Sitting him up and grabbing him beneath his shoulders, Lieutenant Sorrell dragged Sergeant O’Toole out of the outside onto the front door step before collapsing himself.
Lieutenant Sorrell suffered respiratory burns in his airway, which were centimeters from being closed off upon arriving at the Burn Center. Sergeant O'Toole suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 50 percent of his body. His condition required a lengthy hospital stay, and he is currently continuing his recovery process.
For great personal risk using the highest degree of judgment and zeal, Lieutenant Ethan D. Sorrell is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.