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Monday, May 13, 2013

"She Tore Up Some Stuff Prior to our Arrival"

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

Earlier this month on Thursday, May 9, Prince George's County Firefighters from the Camp Springs area responded to an incident  involving a release of natural gas.  A high-pressure natural gas line had been struck and broken by a contractor while digging in the 7000 block of Berkshire Drive.  A strong natural gas odor permeated the air and as a result several homes in the neighborhood were ordered to evacuate.  When firefighters came upon a home in the "hot zone" with no response at the door, they forced entry to ensure everyone was OK and out of the house. 

In one of the homes, a dog was found inside along with high levels of natural gas.  The following letter was written by one of the owners to Prince George's County Government leadership and explains what happened next.

I would like to begin by saying thank you. You and the Prince George’s County Team are doing an excellent job. Since you have taken office, the county is taking on the biggest positive change I have seen in years and it is all thanks to you and your leadership.

Over a year ago, we began seeing signs around our Camp Springs neighborhood that advised us that WSSC would be replacing the water-mains. The replacement work began approximately two months ago. Everything had been going great until last week when unfortunately, the contractor that WSSC approved to do the work hit a gas line. Since we work during the day, our dog was left home alone.

I received a phone call from my alarm company, informing me that there had been a break-in at our home. My partner left his job and ran home immediately to find out exactly what was going on. The alarm company representative called me back to let me know that after the invasion occurred, they spoke through the alarm system to ask the intruders to identify themselves. To our benefit, it was a group of Prince George’s County Firefighters. The Firefighters identified themselves and informed the alarm company of the situation. The alarm company immediately called me to let me know that the firefighters were in our home because they were trying to evacuate the neighborhood because of the gas leak.

When my partner arrived in our neighborhood, Washington Gas and the Prince George's County Fire Department would not allow anyone in the neighborhood for safety reasons. However, eventually the fire department allowed him into the neighborhood and when he arrived at our home, we found a note written on a piece of cardboard that said:

“There was a gas leak outside of your house & we had to break your door in to make sure no one was home. Once in, we found high levels of gas & had to get your dog outside to fresh air. She was scared at first, but came outside after some coaxing. She pee’d and pooped around noon & hung out with us at the fire truck. We put her back inside & gave her fresh food & water.”

When my partner called me at work and read the note to me, I was amazed. The reason I was amazed is because I would not expect anyone to take care of a strange dog. In addition to them taking care of our baby, they opened all the windows for safety reasons. I truly give Captain D. Fletcher and his team an infinity amount of kudos for the work they did and the care that they showed by taking care of our baby and our home. This was truly going above and beyond the call of duty and I wanted to take the time out to say thank you. Thank you to the firefighters that stopped by and made it a point to watch out for our home as well as thank you to all of County Management for hiring and having such excellent professionals.

We turn on the news each day and it seems like every Washington, DC metro television station has a lot of negative news reports regarding Prince George’s County (not to mention having to go to work in Virginia and hearing the negative things that they have to say). As a proud Prince George’s County resident, I make it a point to tell of the wonderful things that are going on in our neighborhood. When I told my co-workers (whom 90% live in Virginia) about the excellent service we received from Captain Fletcher and his team, they were speechless. I believe I even have one co-worker convinced to move her and her family to our neighborhood.

Again, I just wanted to take the time out to say thank you to Captain Fletcher (PGFD# 16182) and his team for what they done for us back on May 9th around noon. Their response, professionalism, and compassion for our dog, home, and neighborhood will always be remembered. Please pass this letter of appreciation along to them and let them know that Duffy says, “thank you!”


Name Withheld by PGFD PIO

Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Donny Fletcher and his crew from the Morningside Fire/EMS Station may not have realized what an impact their actions would have on these residents.  Captain Fletcher also probably never thought his handwritten notes would be published. 

When notified of the actions of the firefighters and the very complimentary note, Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, "I am constantly amazed at the things our people do, job well done to Captain Fletcher and his crew for going above and beyond."

These are the notes that Captain Fletcher had left for the home owners once the
"all clear" was given and he returned the dog to his house.

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