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Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentines Weekend Busy for PGFD and Public Safety Dispatchers

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

It was anything but sweet for public safety personnel working this past weekend and the outlook for remaining busy continues.  On Saturday, February 14th, an arctic blast brought about one inch of snow to Prince George’s County, Maryland, followed by rapidly dropping temperatures, sustained winds ranging from 20 to 30 mph and wind gusts around 50 mph.  Air temperatures were in the teens with wind chill temperatures feeling below zero.  Any snow that fell remained throughout the weekend and with the frigid temperatures became ice on sidewalks and roadways.

On Valentines Day Saturday call takers and dispatchers handled about 525 calls for service for the Fire/EMS Department with a high percentage of these incidents coming after 5:00 pm when the snow first started to fall.  The Fire/EMS Department routinely responds to an average of 350 calls per day.

Responses included motor vehicle crashes with injuries, trees down, wires down, automatic fire alarms and slips and falls in addition to the normal everyday requests for fire or EMS services.  An increase in calls for assistance with flooded conditions started to increase as water pipes froze and burst open in homes and businesses.

Firefighters fought two home fires on Saturday.  The first fire occurred in a 2-story split foyer home in the 6800 block of Robina Court in Temple Hills.   This fire was determined to be an accidental electrical fire that caused an estimated $100,00 in fire loss.  The second house fire occurred in the 4700 block of Brava Court in Fort Washington and determined to be an accidental electrical malfunction causing an estimated $20,000 in fire loss.  No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
4700 block of Brava Court in Fort Washington

Two ambulances were involved in minor crashes themselves on slick roads.  Fortunately, damage was minimal and no one was injured.

Sunday, February 15, continued with more of the same.  Fire/EMS units handled nearly 600 calls for service including, motor vehicle crashes with injury along with a steady stream of calls for flooded conditions and automatic fire alarms.

Winds remained a factor with wind chill temperatures remaining at dangerous levels despite bright sunshine throughout the day.  Firefighters remained busy handling the high volume of calls and battling fires.

At about 8:00 am, firefighters made quick work of a dryer fire in the 3300 block of Walters Lane in District Heights.  Fire was limited to $2,000 with no injuries or displacement,

At about 1:45 pm, firefighters battled a fire in a single family home in the 7000 block of Southlawn Drive in Oxon Hill.  This fire was started by a space heater igniting nearby combustibles.  Two firefighters were injured battling this fire; both were treated and released from area hospitals.  The fire caused about $100,000 in fire loss and the family of 3 adults, 3 children and 3 dogs were displaced.  A working smoke alarm alerted residents of the fire and all were able to escape safely.

Unit block of Maryland Park Drive in Capitol Heights.
At around 5:00 pm firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the unit block of Maryland Park Drive in Capitol Heights.  Fire/EMS units arrived on the scene to find smoke showing from the 2-story single family home.  The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes with no injuries being reported.  A malfunctioning fireplace was the cause of the fire with fire loss estimated at $100,000.  The family was displaced.

At about 1:30 am, Monday, February 16, fire/EMS units from the Riverdale area were alerted to a house fire in the 5500 block of Carters Lane in Riverdale.  Firefighters arrived with fire showing from the 1-story single family home.  No one was home and no injuries were reported. Fire loss is estimated at $100,000 and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

So far, Presidents Day Monday morning has been relatively quiet with the exception of numerous flooded conditions and investigations of automatic fire alarms.  There will not be much rest as a snowstorm with a potential of 4 to 8 inches of snow is forecast for later today into tomorrow.   Week long forecasts show that temperatures will not go above freezing for the remainder of the week. 

Citizens are encouraged to stay informed about the weather conditions and be ready with emergency kits fully stocked and to stay warm safely.

Stay Informed, Stay Ready and Stay Safe.

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