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Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics, career and volunteer, and members of the Departments Technical Rescue Team were recognized for their efforts that resulted in the safe removed a child's hand entangled in an escalator mechanism Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor bestowed a seldom presented and highly prestigious Unit Citation to 24 personnel in a ceremony held at the Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
The Unit Citation was awarded for an incident occurring on the evening of Tuesday, April 17, 2014, when fire/EMS units from Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station 829, Morningside Fire/EMS Station 827 and the Technical Rescue Team from the Fort Washington Fire/EMS Station 847 responded to Iverson Mall for the report of a child’s hand trapped in an escalator. Deputy Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale, Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez and Battalion Commander Warren Hughes also responded to the incident based on the severity of the incident.
Crews arrived to find a young boy whose hand was pinned between a metal kick plate and the rubber grab-rail at the bottom of the escalator. It soon became apparent that crews were facing two challenges: the victim’s position and dismantling the escalator, which was necessary to ascertain the true depth of entrapment. Due to the age and poor condition of the device, a more unconventional technique was required to free his hand. Several attempts were made to lubricate the boy’s hand and gently slide it out; however, his response of intense pain made this the least favorable option. After considerable cutting and prying, it was determined that slicing through the rubber grab rail and employing a jack to lift and remove the drive wheel was the best alternative. Taking extreme precaution to avoid further harming the child, chains were used to alleviate the weight of the drive wheel and pop the pin that held it in place. With some assistance, he was able to remove his fingers from the escalator. The patient was transported to the hospital and placed in the care of emergency room staff. Following a brief stay in the hospital, he was released in good condition.
Despite a stressful and lengthy extrication process, the child’s hand was successfully removed from the device. In making the presentation Fire Chief Bashoor stated, "Due to the dedication, expertise, and excellent teamwork demonstrated on this incident, the child's injuries were minimal. For your outstanding performance on the scene of this rescue, you are hereby awarded a Fire/EMS Department Unit Citation. Your actions reflect well on you both personally and professionally, as well as exemplify the caliber of service the Fire/EMS Department strives to provide to the citizens of Prince George’s County."
A plaque was presented that included incident details and all the members recognized. This plaque will be on display on the Silver Hill Fire/EMS Station.
Deputy Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale
Assistant Chief Paul A. Gomez
Acting Battalion Chief Warren A. Hughes
Fire Captain Robert G. Bilko, 829
Volunteer Captain Michael Williams, 827
Fire Lieutenant Christopher M. Whittington, 847
Volunteer Lieutenant Michael Mavaddat, 827
FF/M Technician David P. Ramdial, 829
FF/M Christie L. Becker, 829
FF/M Jarren T. Hall, 829
FF/M Michael R. Jefferson, 847
FF/M Thomas R. Joachim, 847
FF/M Joseph B. Quade, 847
Volunteer FF/EMT Ryan Kelly, 827
Volunteer FF/EMT Jonathan Slack, 827
FF Tervel I. Butler, 829
FF Daryel R. Dunston, 829
FF Lincoln M. Johnsen, 829
FF Adam P. Metzbower, 829
FF Andrew G. Morrow, 829
FF David W. Smart, 829
Volunteer FF Donald Belfield, 827
Volunteer FF Timothy Collins, 827