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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rosaryville Road House Fire - Christmas Farm

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

Firefighters battled a fire at an Upper Marlboro farmhouse today after laying over a mile of supply line from the closest hydrant.  911 calls and a radio report from the U.S. Park Police “Eagle 1” helicopter gave firefighters advance notice of a working incident just before 11:00 am.

Firefighters arrived at the Christmas Farm at 8200 Rosaryville Road and encountered a 2-story, Cape Cod style, 2100+ square foot single-family home with fire showing from the second floor.  Firefighters utilized the water they carry on-board their engines to fight the fire while other crews were establishing a water supply.

The house, built in the 1920’s, was soon consumed by heavy fire.  The owner, 78-years of age, was born, raised and still lived at the house.  He was not at home when the fire started but arrived before firefighters to find heavy smoke coming from his house.  The man made attempts to retrieve his pets inside the house but was forced to retreat as the flames and heat grew in intensity. 

Firefighters were forced to cease interior firefighting operations and had to battle the fire from the safety of the exterior soon after arrival.  Interior conditions became untenable and unsafe for personnel.  It took about 90 minutes to knock down the fire with deep-seated embers still smoldering hours after. 

Some of the homeowners pets were found safe outside of the home, however, 2 dogs and 2 cats remain unaccounted for.  No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  A preliminary fire loss is estimated at $250,000.  The homeowner is displaced and will be staying with a family member.

All images by Mark E. Brady, PGFDPIO


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Holly is an outside dog and survived the fire at the Christmas Farm house.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Local Fire Chiefs Exchange ideas at FIREHOUSE Expo

Fire Chiefs Share Thoughts at Firehouse Expo

BALTIMORE – They may wear different patches. But, three metropolitan fire chiefs shared some similar challenges and issues with Firehouse Expo attendees Friday morning.
Howard County, MD Fire Chief Bill Goddard and Prince George’s County Chief Marc Bashoor and Alexandria, Va. Fire Chief Adam Thiel all say they have way too many things to do than respond every time the tones drop. They say they rely on their officers to handle operations.
The chiefs said a good officer has it all -- training, education and experience.
Thiel added that his definition of diversity is not how people look but the different perspectives they bring to the table. Unfortunately, people who don’t pursue their education and keep up with training are getting by-passed for promotions.
Bashoor and Goddard, who lead combination departments, said it’s also imperative that officers – volunteer or career – be on the same sheet of music. 

“It’s important they set the politics aside and focus on what they’re here for – to serve the public,” Bashoor said adding that he feels it’s important to keep the line of communication open. If not, rumors are allowed to fester.

He added that for the first time, volunteer and paid firefighters are in recruit school together training side by side.
Goddard said personnel and citizens in his county are especially proud that they’ve increased the survival rate of cardiac arrest patients. He said he’s proud to see how people are embracing and getting involved with the program.
They were the first jurisdiction on the East Coast to host the CPR Academy.
In Alexandria, firefighters are EMTs and respond as first responders while the medics handle ALS and transports.
Thiel told the group he experienced his worst night as a firefighter and chief last year when one of his paramedics – Josh Weisman – died of traumatic injuries after falling from an overpass.
Weisman wasn’t aware there was a gap between the bridges when he jumped to cross over. He landed on the rip rap below, suffering severe head injuries.
Had he crossed just 18 inches to the left, he would have made it.
Thiel continued as the firefighters shook their heads: “I hate vehicle fires. I don’t know why we put ourselves at such risk for vehicle fires…”
He added that the internal report has not yet been made public.
Bashoor said he is assisting the volunteer companies with recruitment and retention by hiring a person to focus on recruiting. “I believe centralizing this will help…”
He also said he is working on ways to encourage professional development.
Meanwhile, Goddard told the fire and rescue personnel: “In spite of the challenges, there is no better time to be in this business, no better time to be a fire chief and come up with creative ideas…”
Thiel said he takes every opportunity to remind people they are responsible for helping reduce line of duty deaths and injuries. It’s aggravating that they continue to put on their seatbelts and masks, and are not slowing down.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Prince George’s County Council Confirms Nominations to the County Fire Commission


For immediate release: July 25, 2013

For Information Contact:
Scott L. Peterson
Press Secretary
Office of the County Executive
(240) 619-9400

Prince George’s County Council Confirms Nominations
to the County Fire Commission

Upper Marlboro, MD: On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the Prince George’s County Council confirmed the nominations of Mr. John R. Alter, Mr. Jonathan P. Bigony, Mr. Tyrome Taliferro Bodrick, Ms. Leslie H. Garrett, Mr. William H. (Buddy) King, Mr. Randy S. Kuenzli, Mr. Julian R. (Jay) Tucker and Mr. William C. Taylor to the Prince George’s County Fire Commission.

“I want to congratulate all the members of the Prince George’s County Fire Commission and thank the County Council for confirming these nominations,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Our volunteer fire and EMS members are a critical component to the safety and security of our residents and I am confident these Commission members, including the first-ever non-Departmental citizen representative, will be great stewards on behalf of our entire Fire/EMS service.”

The Fire Commission reviews the financial needs and requests for public funds of each volunteer fire company. It formulates annually, one capital budget, one capital improvement program, and one current expense budget for all volunteer fire companies with respect to the expenditure of public funds, and shall submit said budgets and program, together with appropriate justification, to the County Executive in accordance with the provisions of the Charter. The Fire Commission will work closely with the Fire Chief to ensure the entire Departments needs are met.

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor added, "The revised configuration of the Fire Commission confirmed today, is the next exciting step in the transformation of the Fire Commission. The advent of non-Departmental community representation and eventually career representation, is a natural progression for a fire service that has grown, from an all-volunteer service prior to Charter, into the largest and busiest combination paid and volunteer fire and EMS Department in the United States. I look forward to working closely with the newly seated Fire Commission, to improve the Department and ensure the entire Fire/EMS Department needs are met."


Mr. John R. Alter, a lifelong Prince Georgian and resident of Bowie, is the current Chairman of the Prince George’s County Fire Commission. Mr. Alter manages the Fire Commission with a total of nine commissioners who provide financial management, oversight, training requirements, grant administration, recruiting, logistic support and medical referrals to members of the volunteer departments. He joined the Fire Commission in 2008 and has chaired the Budget Committee. He oversees budgetary issues and the development of the Capital Improvement Projects. Mr. Alter is an active command officer within Prince George’s County. He is a member of the National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs and Maryland Fire Chiefs Association. Mr. Alter will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. Jonathan P. Bigony, a resident of Bowie, retired from Prince George’s County Government in 2004 after a long career in the Office of Homeland Security, Public Safety Communications Division. He has been a member of the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad since 1980. He also currently serves on the Fire Commission. Mr. Bigony will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. Tyrome Taliferro Bodrick, a lifelong Prince George’s County resident, currently resides in Upper Marlboro. Mr. Bodrick is currently a member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, where he has served for nearly 13 years. Prior to this tour of duty, he was a member of the District Heights Volunteer Fire Department, where he began his volunteer fire service as a teenager. Mr. Bodrick is employed as a Deputy Sheriff with Arlington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department. Mr.Bodrick will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Ms. Leslie H. Garrett, a resident of District Heights, has been an active member of the Boulevard Heights Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department since 1995. She has held several positions during her tenure. She is a human resources professional with nearly 20 years of experience in the areas of immigration, human resources information systems, recruiting, benefits and compensation. Ms. Garrett will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. William H. (Buddy) King, a resident of New Carrollton, has a lengthy 46 year history of dedicated, volunteer fire service in Prince George’s County. He was also a Fire Fighter in his professional career having served the Federal Government as an officer with the Department of the Navy until his retirement in 2008. Mr. King will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. Randy S. Kuenzli, a resident of Hyattsville, is actively involved in the Volunteer Fire Service in Prince George’s County and has been since about 1990. Currently, he serves as Chief of the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department. His fire service career, which began more than 40 years ago, started in Pennsylvania where he held numerous positions including Deputy Chief and Chief. He is currently employed by the Town of Edmonston as a Code Enforcement Officer. Mr. Kuenzli will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. Julian R. (Jay) Tucker, a resident of Upper Marlboro, has been a volunteer fire service member since 1970. He worked for Brandywine Auto Parts as General Manager prior to his retirement in 1999. Mr. Tucker has been very active in the County having served as Past President of the Town of Upper Marlboro. Mr. Tucker will serve as a Volunteer Member of the Commission.

Mr. William C. Taylor, a resident of Fort Washington, was employed as a Journeyman Bricklayer for more than 25 years, having worked on the D. C. Convention Center project and for the Architect of the Capitol. Currently he is the Chairman of the Maryland State Apprenticeship Council where he has been a member since 1997. He has also been a Masonry Instructor, having taught at the University of the District of Columbia and the Job Corps. Mr. Taylor will serve as a Community Member on the Commission.

Surplus Vehicle Donated to the United States Marine Corp EOD

Prince George's County, through the Office of Central Services, recently donated a surplus retired County Explosives Ordinance (EOD) truck to the United States Marines.   The vehicle, a 1987 International, was placed into a surplus status after the Fire/EMS Department received a new EOD vehicle through federal grants. 

After making repairs and preparations the EOD vehicle will be used for routine and emergency responses by the Marine Corps Base Quantico Explosive Ordinance Division.

The previous Bomb Disposal Unit served the men and women of the Fire/EMS Department well over the past several years and we wish the vehicle, the operators and the United States Marines continued success and safety with it.

The surplus vehicle was in storage at the Fire/EMS Department Apparatus Maintenance Division in Forestville where it was picked up on July 18th.
M70759 being loaded for the trip to its new home with the Marine Corps in Quantico (EPD Section).

TEAM PGFD Flugtag Shirts On-Sale!!!

We previously posted a story about TEAM PGFD and the 2013 National Red Bull Flugtag event. TEAM PGFD has selected IAFF Local 1619 Burn Fund as their charity with a goal of raising $5,000.  To help raise funds, TEAM PGFD has designed a tee-shirt that is available for sale.  The tee-shirt has been approved by Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.  He has approved the shirt to be worn as an official work shirt during the month of September.  To view the tee-shirt and order on-line for home delivery, please, click here.

The National Red Bull Flugtag is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2013, and 1 of the 5 nationwide events will be held at the National Harbor. This is the first time for the event being in the National Capital Region. The Harbor’s event is in conjunction with 4 other Flugtags taking place in Miami, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Long Beach, CA. More than 1300 teams from all over the country applied to take part in this competition, but only 30 were selected from each city. TEAM PGFD is the only Fire/EMS Department themed entity to make the cut.

We hope to sell as many TEAM PGFD Flugtag shirts as possible to demonstrate our support and to raise funds for a worthy cause.

New Fire Investigators Graduate Police Academy

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department recently had two members that have successfully completed and graduated from the County Police Academy.  The two Fire Fighter/Medics are in the process of becoming the Departments newest additions to the position of Fire Investigator.

Fire Fighter/Medics Justin Shea and Jennifer Lawhorne were two of the forty-seven recruits from the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Basic Training Session #123.  Graduation ceremonies were held on Tuesday evening, July 23, in Upper Marlboro.  
The pair of Fire Fighter/Medics graduated as Law Enforcement officers that are certified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission to enforce the fire and explosive laws of the State of Maryland and Prince George's County Maryland. They learned every skill that a County Police Officer learns in the academy.  In order to become Fire Investigators the pair must also obtain certification to enable them to determine the cause and origin of fires and explosions.

Shea and Lawhorne will join an experienced and talented team of personnel assigned to the Fire Investigations Division within the Office of the Fire Marshal.   This office reports to Deputy Fire Chief Scott K. Hoglander, Commander of the Support Services Command of the Fire/EMS Department. 

In addition to Fire Chief Bashoor and Deputy Fire Chief Hoglander many personnel  from Fire Investigations attended the graduation ceremony.

All images are credited to Matthew E. Fisher, Prince George's County Police Department.

Fire Fighter/Medics Justin Shea and Jennifer Lawhorne

County Executive Rushern Baker, Fire Fighter/Medic Lawhorne
and Fire Chief Marc Bashoor at Police Academy Graduation

County Executive Rushern Baker, Fire Fighter/Medic Shea
and Fire Chief Marc Bashoor at Police Academy Graduation

Fire Chief Bashoor pins badge onto uniform of Shea during "Pinning Ceremony"

Fire Chief Bashoor pins badge onto uniform of Lawhorne during "Pinning Ceremony"


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bashoor to Participate at FIREHOUSE EXPO "Chiefs Panel" on Leadership

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor will be participating on a panel of fire service leaders at the FIREHOUSE EXPO in Baltimore.  The EXPO is an annual event that attracts thousands of fire and emergency service attendees and exhibitors from across the country. 

Chief Bashoor will be part of a "Chiefs Panel" comprised of fire service leaders such as; Dennis Compton, Fire Chief (retired) Mesa, AZ; William Goddard, Fire Chief, Howard County, MD, and  Adam Thiel, Fire Chief, City of Alexandria, VA.

The panel will convene Friday, July 26, at 8:30 am until 10:00 am in Room 317 of the Baltimore Convention Center.  Chief Dennis Compton will moderate the panel of chiefs discussing the latest in current and timely topics affecting the fire service such as EMS workloads, social media, funding and financial constraints, hiring, work schedules, specialized assignments.

$10,000 Arson Reward - 57th Avenue Fire that Injured 7 Firefighters

Monday, July 22, 2013

10-Year Sealed Battery Smoke Alarms PSA

Firefighters Battle House Fire During "Heat Stress Watch"

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

On Friday, July 19, 2013, at about 3:15 pm, Firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 9300 block of Biemans Terrace in Springdale.  An engine from the St. Josephs Fire/EMS Station 806 was the first to arrive to the the 2-story single family home with heavy fire showing from the roof.  A quick search of house found no residents inside and the bulk of the fire was in the attic and roof area.

The structure was built in 2000 with residential sprinklers, however, the fire appears to have started on the homes exterior and extended up the exterior of the house and into the attic.  The fire by-passed all sprinklered interior areas of the home and rapidly consumed the attic and roof of the house.  Attics areas are not sprinklered.

Air temperature during the firefight was nearly 100 degrees combined with high humidity, it felt like 110.  A Heat Stress Watch had been placed into effect earlier in the day.  The Watch is intended to minimize injuries during periods when high temperatures present a safety hazard to personnel operating on an emergency incident.  A rehab area was established with all personnel rotated through after using one breathing air bottle of air or 20 minutes of work.  The 2 firefighter injuries involved a burn and injured ankle; no injuries were reported to be heat related.

Firefighters had the fire extinguished in about 45 minutes.  Two firefighters and one civilian sustained minor injuries and transported to area hospitals.  All three were treated and released later that afternoon.

Fire Investigators believe the fire started as a result of a discarded smoking material and is accidental.  Fire loss is estimated at $250,000.

Photo by Scott K. Hoglander, Deputy Fire Chief - PGFD

Photo by Scott K. Hoglander, Deputy Fire Chief - PGFD

The fire was so hot that it burned and melted the vinyl siding off of a neighbors house about 30 feet away. Photo by Scott K. Hoglander, Deputy Fire Chief - PGFD


Prince George's County Fire/EMS Chief Marc S. Bashoor is pleased to announce the following promotions effective Sunday, July 28, 2013.


Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Kelli D. Cooke

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant 
Jonathan W. Bender

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Eric R. Zook

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Todd M. Szelkowski

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Christopher D. Smart

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Daniel K. Frost

Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant David J. Wilson 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Media Advisory: PGPD to Hold Active Shooter Drill at High Point High School

Media Advisory: PGPD to Hold Active Shooter Drill at High Point High School

The Prince George’s County Police Department is hosting a joint active shooter training exercise at High Point High School in Beltsville on Friday, July 19, 2013. The drill will include realistic law enforcement and Prince George’s County Fire Department response to multiple shooters inside a school during the school day.

“These realistic mock scenarios test our first responders capabilities in the event of an emergency,” said Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw. “We want to assure our community that our department and our law enforcement partners train for these type of situations so we are prepared if and when we're needed.”

During the drill, more than 100 PGPD recruits will play the role of students at the school. The scenario will start with patrol officers responding to the school after 911 calls for a shooting inside the school. Members of the media will be able to see the responding officers’ entry into the building, the removal of any injured students, and the PGPD Special Operations Division, to include aviation response. Additionally, the head of the PGPD Training division will walk reporters through the scenario as it plays out.

Participating Agencies:
Prince George’s County Police Department
Prince George’s County Fire Department
Maryland State Police
Montgomery County Police
Charles County Sheriff's Office
Bowie Police Department
Greenbelt Police Department

WHO:    Deputy Chief Henry Stawinski, Prince George’s County Police Department
              Chief Marc Bashoor, Prince George’s County Fire Department
              Major Mark Person, Commander, PGPD Training and Education Division
              Mike Blow, Director of Security Services for Prince George's County Public Schools

WHAT:   News Conference on Active Shooter Drill

WHEN:  Friday, July 19, 2013

TIME:   8:20 am (deadline for media to assemble in designated media location)
             8:30 am (start of news conference)

WHERE:  High Point High School
                3601 Powder Mill Road
                Beltsville, MD

Producers/Planning Editors: Please call the Media Relations Division to discuss morning live shot possibilities. Parking for the media will ONLY be available in a clearly marked front row of the parking lot facing Powder Mill Rd. 
Morning timeline:

7:00 am Participating agencies arriving on site
8:20 am Members of the media must be in designated media location at school
8:30 am News conference
9:00 am Active shooter drill begins
Time TBD/As Needed: Maj. Person to give interviews on drill progress and outcome

For more information and to request a parking space, please contact Christina Cotterman at the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Media Relations Division at 301-772-4710.

9-11 Memorial Stair Climb and 3K Walk

Be one of the first 343 to register and receive 
commemorative items and lunch!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Ace Paramedic Swings a Pretty Good Racket

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

An Ace Paramedic Swings a Pretty Good Racket

Fire Fighter/Medic Jorge A. Paucar, 39, is a 14-year member
of the
Fire Fighter/Medic Jorge A. Paucar, 39, is a 14-year member of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department.  For the past 3 months, he has been assigned to   Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844, located at 6330 Riggs Road.  Being a veteran, Paucar has been assigned to quite a few stations in his career including District Heights, Silver Hill, Landover Hills, Riverdale, Chapel Oaks, Glenn Dale, College Park, and Berwyn Heights.  Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards and letters of recognition from both citizens and the Department. 

Fire Fighter/Medic Paucar’s bilingualism is indeed an asset to the Chillum Fire/EMS Station, which is in an area highly populated with Spanish-speaking residents.  “I speak, read, and write Spanish fluently.  These skills are used frequently while on incidents,” he said.

 Paucar recently won the
United States Tennis Association (USTA) Championship
that was held at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia, Maryland. 
Jorge Paucar spends much of his off-duty time playing tennis, which he estimates to be about 13 hours per week.  He began playing while in high school and is quite skilled at the game.  In fact, he recently won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Championship that was held at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia, Maryland.  He humbly described his victory, saying, “There were 16 players in the tournament, and I was fortunate enough to win.” 

Paucar participated in another tournament the weekend of July 13.  He won all of his games at the USTA District level tournament and now moves on to the Sectionals in Norfolk, Virginia.

Asked about his plans for the future, stated, “I plan on furthering my career through promotions.  I will definitely do more tennis leagues, tournaments, and competitions.  I will also assist with promoting an opening of a Tennis Center in one or a few of our local communities.”

Jorge is currently single and resides in Crofton.  

Paucar participated in another tournament the weekend of July 13.  He won all of his games at the District level tournament and now moves on to the Sectionals in Norfolk, Virginia.

 For the past 3 months, Paucar  has been assigned to Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) Announces Water Will Not Be Shut Off in South County, Water Restrictions Remain in Place

For Information Contact: Scott L. Peterson, Public Information Officer
Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management
(240) 619-9400 (for media only)
(301) 583-1950 (for Emergency Operations Center)


Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson - Fire/EMS Department, 240-508-7930

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) Announces Water Will Not Be Shut Off in South County, Water Restrictions Remain in Place

Landover Hills, MD: The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) announced that South County residents will not lose water due to the replacement of a 54-inch concrete pipeline that appeared to be failing. However, mandatory water restrictions remain in place for the impacted area. Residents are advised to utilize water only when necessary and to take short showers, turn off faucets after washing hands, limit flushing toilets, and postpone using washing machines and dishwashers. If the County continues conservation efforts, WSSC is confident that the system will remain fully operational while repairs are completed to the pipeline and returned to service. As a precaution, the Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management will continue operations and services that were set up for this water shortage for the next 24 hours as we confirm that residents will not lose water service. 

The Fire/EMS Department will continue to have water tankers and additional resources remain in place as well as enhanced dispatch assignments will continue to the impacted area.for a 24 hour period starting at 12 noon today.  At that time the current situation will be evaluated and resource decisions will be made.

“This is a welcome development for our residents but we must be aware that we are still under mandatory water restrictions and there could be a setback in the replacement of this pipe,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “I want to thank all of our residents for their patience, understanding and adherence to our directives to conserve water. I also want to thank our emergency operations, regional partners, and the thousands of citizens, business, and stakeholders who volunteered assistance and donations of water to our impacted residents.”

Impacted communities include Morningside, Hillcrest Heights, Camp Springs, Forest Heights, Temple Hills, and Oxon Hill, including Joint Base Andrews and the National Harbor. Please check this interactive map to see if you are in the affected area.

Residents with any questions are encouraged to call WSSC’s 24-hour Call Center at 301-206-4002. Prince George’s County’s 3-1-1 Call Center is also available for resident questions. Residents should NOT call 9-1-1, unless it is a medical emergency.

Important Phone Numbers and Notify Me Information

Residents with any questions are encouraged to call WSSC’s 24-hour Call Center at 301-206-4002.   

Prince George’s County’s 3-1-1 Call Center is extending its hours during this crisis and will be open from 7:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. Residents should NOT call 9-1-1, unless it is a medical emergency.

Citizens, residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up for electronic notifications to your personal communication devices.  Sign up for Notify Me - Prince George by clicking here.  The information from Notify Me will provide updates from the WSSC water outage as well as weather updates and other timely information that you choose to receive.