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Thursday, June 20, 2013

TIC Assists in Rescue of Trapped Cat

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

A Fort Washington family recently looked to firefighters at their nearby station to help them rescue their dog that was trapped in a deep hole beneath a fallen tree.  One week later on Wednesday evening, another Fort Washington resident was anguished over not being able to locate her cat.  Having nowhere else to turn, the homeowner called the Fort Washington Fire/EMS Station 847 and explained her dilemma.  The cat had somehow made its way into a basement wall and could not find its way out.  Despite hearing the cat’s meows, the homeowner could not pinpoint its exact location.

Arriving at the single-family home in the 13300 block of Fort Washington Road, firefighters explained they would have to leave if an emergency call was dispatched.  They promised her they would return later.  Fortunately, no calls were received, allowing them to rapidly complete this humanitarian mission.

Firefighters brought in a Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC)—a handheld device that detects areas of heat.  The camera can be used in smoke and darkness and enables firefighters to see through barriers, such as drywall.  When radiant heat or body temperature is detected, the camera displays images. When the TIC was pointed in the area where the meows were heard the loudest, a slight heat spot was displayed on the camera.  With the homeowner’s permission, a small portion of the wall was removed; and the cat was quickly rescued.  The animal, which appeared uninjured, was reunited with its grateful owner. 

While in the home, firefighters also checked the smoke alarm and found it was not working.  They provided a fresh battery and ensured the device was operating properly prior to leaving. 

The crew on this incident included Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Anthony McCormick, Fire Technician Michael Bell, Fire Fighter John Oliver, Fire Fighter Lauren Foreman, Fire Fighter/Medic Gilbert James and Fire Fighter/Medic John Bowman.  Interestingly, one of these crew members and his family were recently named Volunteer Family of the Year, for being foster care providers to cats and orphaned kittens.  

Sorry, no pictures or names on this rescue at the request of the homeowner.

Suitland Family Escapes Home Fire After Smoke Alarm Sounds

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Conditions upon arrival of Silver Hill Engine 829.  Photo is courtesy of a member of the community.

A Suitland family was alerted to a fire on the second floor of their home on Wednesday evening.  At about 6:45 pm Fire/EMS units were alerted to a fire on the second floor of a 2-story duplex in the 2200 block of Houston Street.  The engine from the Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station was the first to arrive and encountered smoke and fire showing.

The family was at home when a smoke alarm sounded on the 2nd floor.  Family members went to investigate the alarm and found a fire in one of the bedrooms.  As occupants were evacuating the structure, a fire extinguisher was dispensed on the fire but had no effect on putting it out.  All occupants then safely escaped.

Upon arrival firefighters entered the home and conducted a search for any remaining occupants and stretched a hose line to the second floor and knocked down the fire.  There were no reported injuries.  Fire Investigators believe the fire was accidental and started by an electrical malfunction.  Fire loss is estimated at $40,000.

The family of 4 adults and 1 child will be making their own arrangements for temporary shelter.