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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MEDALS OF VALOR AWARDED

The Prince George's County Public Safety Valor Awards was held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.  The event, held at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt, was one of the highest attended events in recent memory with over 700 in attendance.

The following members of the Fire/EMS Department were awarded with Valor Medals.

GOLD MEDAL OF VALOR
AND
2012 PARAMEDICS OF THE YEAR

Presented to
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC TECHNICIAN JAMIESON P. SCARLATA


FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC EDWARD G. ALDACO

PARAMEDIC STEPHEN G. CHAGNON

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR
Presented to
BERWYN HEIGHTS VOLUNTEER DEPUTY CHIEF CHASE J. FABRIZIO

BERWYN HEIGHTS VOLUNTEER CAPTAIN RYAN R. WAGNER

FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC LEONARD F. COLLINS

On Tuesday, April 21, 2012, units from the Prince George’s County Fire/ EMS Department were dispatched to a reported Confined Space Rescue in the 5400 block of Van Dusen Road. A contingent of firefighters, paramedics, and members of the Technical Rescue team arrived on the scene to find an adult male with his legs pinned in a mulch dye machine and in excruciating pain.

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.



GOLD MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC JOSEPH C. FORD

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR
and
2012 FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Presented to
FIRE FIGHTER LIEUTENANT JEFF BRUSHWOOD


BRONZE MEDAL OF VALOR


FIRE FIGHTER GLENN "TRAVIS" LAMBERT

On the evening of Friday, June 1, 2012, units from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department were dispatched to the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River for a report of youths stranded in swift moving water. The 3 young males were stranded on the base of the bridge support, in the middle of a waterway that was approximately 100 feet wide. The water depth varied as a result of several severe thunderstorms passing through the Metropolitan area and causing flash flooding. The entire region had been under a tornado watch all day. The current was strong and swift, with the water level rising. The location of the victims was created by an eddy that was in jeopardy of being compromised by the fast rising flood water. Due to their extended time in the water, the potential for hypothermic conditions existed. Additionally, if the victims came into contact with the debris being washed down the waterway, they could possibly be knocked back into the current and seriously injured.


FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC BOBBY J. BLEVINS

At the direction of Lieutenant Brushwood, who coordinated this rescue operation, Fire Fighter/Medic Myers and Fire Fighter Lambert assembled and maintained an anchor and lowering system, using an aerial from the Truck 801 from Hyattsville. Their quick thinking and tireless efforts ensured Fire Fighter/Medic Ford’s safety, as they lowered him into the rapidly moving water three times to affect the rescue of the victims one at a time. Fire Fighter/Medic Blevins set up the hauling system that was used to bring up the rescuer along with the youths. By now, the water was rising quickly and a great deal of debris was moving swiftly downstream. An additional hazard was the large hydraulics created because of the construction of the bridge.

The quick, sound thinking and ingenuity of Lieutenant Brushwood, as well the outstanding skills demonstrated by all personnel involved, resulted in the quick rescue of the victims from this perilous situation.



FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC ALEXANDER H. MYERS




For extreme personal risk, Fire Fighter/Medic Joseph C. Ford is awarded a Gold Medal of Valor.


For great personal risk, zeal, and judgment, Fire Fighter Lieutenant Jeff Brushwood is awarded a Silver Medal of Valor.

For unusual personal risk, Fire Fighter/Medic Bobby J. Blevins, Fire Fighter/Medic Alexander H. Myers, and Fire Fighter Glenn T. Lambert are awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.

Additionally, for his “courage under fire” and ability to lead others in the life or death situations on multiple occasions, Fire Chief Marc Bashoor is pleased to name Fire Lieutenant Jeff Brushwood as the Prince George’s County Fire /EMS Department’s “2012 Fire Fighter of the Year.”



BRONZE MEDAL OF VALOR


Presented to

 

KENTLAND VOLUNTEER CAPTAIN RICHARD A. GREEN
KENTLAND VOLUNTEER SERGEANT JOSEPH D. NEVILLE
KENTLAND VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER TIMOTHY M. JONES
CHAPEL OAKS VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER CHRISTIAN K. WHITING

 
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 2, 2012, Fire/EMS Department units responded to 5396 Sheriff Road for a reported fire. En route to the scene, Public Safety Communications advised that someone was possibly trapped in the building. Upon arrival, these firefighters encountered a 2-story, single-family dwelling with fire showing from the second floor on side Alpha and Delta.
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.

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to
WILLIAM H. MILLS, JR., (RETIRED) FIRE FIGHTER LIEUTENANT

 
Retired Fire Fighter Lieutenant William “Billy” Mills was on his way to a store in the Pointer Ridge area, when he saw a column of smoke. Having served 20 years as a firefighter in the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, he instinctively knew the smoke was emanating from a structure on fire. Following the smoke, he arrived at the scene of the incident the same time as the first arriving firefighters from the Bowie Pointer Ridge Station #843. While the crew was donning their Personal Protective Equipment and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, Lieutenant Mills went to the rear of the house and performed a quick assessment of fire and smoke conditions from all sides of the structure. Entering the gated backyard, he encountered a black Labrador Retriever frantically scurrying about the yard. Seeing Lieutenant Mills, the faithful pet went immediately to the sliding glass doors on the rear of the house and barked continually while looking inside. Following the dog’s lead, Lieutenant Mills looked inside the home and saw an adult female on her knees and unable to move any further. Surrounded by thick smoke and intense heat, the woman was in dire need of being removed from the burning residence. Wearing civilian clothes and with no personal protective equipment to protect him, Lieutenant Mills entered the house, going approximately 4 feet inside, and pulled the victim out into the backyard. She had already sustained burn and smoke inhalation injuries.
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.

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC CAPTAIN JOHN M. ELIE
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC JACOB T. BROWN

BRONZE MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC BATTALION CHIEF ALAN C. DOUBLEDAY
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC FREDERICK W. 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
POLICE OFFICER FIRST CLASS DARRYL R. WORMUTH

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.


SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to
FIRE FIGHTER LIEUTENANT MICHAEL D. MOREHEAD
FIRE FIGHTER JONATHAN M. SIMS
KENTLAND VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER TREY H. DALTON

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.

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

WILLIAM J. HAWKINS

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.

BRONZE MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

FIRE FIGHTER LIEUTENANT THOMAS D. JENKINS
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC DONALD C. BRONSON
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC MICHAEL K. FLEMING
FIRE FIGHTER/MEDIC MILES T. PHILLIPS

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.

SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR

Presented to

BLADENSBURG VOLUNTEER LIEUTENANT ETHAN D. SORRELL

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.







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