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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Crews Recognized for Handling a Horrific Crash - Oxon Hill

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

photo by: Teresa Ann Crisman, PGFD
On Tuesday, May 26, Prince George's County Firefighter/Medics, career and volunteer, were recognized for their actions in one of the most horrific crashes seen in the County.  Each received a Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department Emergency Services Award.  The award ceremony was held at the Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station 842 in Glassmanor.

On the evening of Tuesday, October 10, 2014, Fire/EMS Department units responded to Livingston Road and Livingston Terrace in Oxon Hill for the report of a motor vehicle collision.  On arrival, personnel confronted a scene that could only be described as “horrific”.  The accident involved eight victims, of which three adults and two children eventually succumbed to their injuries.  Despite the extreme chaos in the midst of this tragedy, crews quickly and efficiently handled the triage, treatment, and transport. 

Loss of a life is difficult for any public safety professional, even more so when it is the life of a child.  This mass casualty incident both taxed the Department’s resources and tested the endurance of everyone involved.  Nevertheless, crews were able to maintain their composure and perform their duties at an exemplary level.  While not everyone dealt with the same patients or level of intensity as the initial responding units, each played a role in mitigating this event.

"Your performance on the scene of the aforementioned incident was commendable and is worthy of recognition," said Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.  "Therefore, you are hereby awarded a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Services Award.  Your actions speak well of you personally and professionally and exemplify the excellent caliber of service the Fire/EMS Department strives to provide to the residents of Prince George’s County."

The following members were recognized with an Emergency Services Award

Volunteer Deputy Chief Napoleon Epps                                  
Assistant Fire Chief Robert B. Wallace (retired)                     
Battalion Chief Steven H. Kling                                              
Paramedic Captain Ola A. Akintunde                                      
Lieutenant Todd M. Szelkowski                                              
Lieutenant Christopher Whittington                                        
Paramedic Lieutenant Kristine J. Piazza                                  
Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Edward J. Haaxma                  
Fire Fighter/Medic Lester H. Bascum                                      
Fire Fighter/Medic James A. Harris, Jr.                                   
Fire Fighter/Medic Christopher G. Hastings                            
Fire Fighter/Medic Marcus E. Johnson                                    
Fire Fighter/Medic Christopher D. Klinepeter                         
Fire Fighter/Medic Andrew C. Rohrbugh                                
Fire Fighter Joseph C. Ford 
Fire Fighter Matthew J. Lockwood
Fire Fighter James T. Miller
Fire Fighter Sean D. Moorehouse
Fire Fighter John R. Oliver
Fire Fighter Joseph B. Quade
Fire Fighter Ryan J. Sekuterski
Fire Fighter Robert J. Stewart
Fire Fighter Matthew J. Tippett
Fire Fighter David E. Wierbolowciz
Fire Fighter Stephen Zamary
Paramedic Christine N. Branan
Paramedic Brittany A. Joy
Volunteer Fire Fighter Daniel Smith

Friday, May 22, 2015

Accokeek House Total Loss from Fire - Cold Harbour Drive

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

Prince George’s County Firefighters in the Fort Washington area battled a house fire last night that involved a partial collapse.  Just after 10:00 pm, Fire/EMS units were alerted to a house fire in the 14200 block of Cold Harbour Drive in Accokeek.  Firefighters arrived to find a 2-story with walkout basement 3600+ sq. ft. single family home with heavy fire showing.  The structure, built in 2004, was well involved with fire and reported to be unoccupied/vacant.  The Incident Commander made a decision to not allow any personnel inside the structure due to unsafe conditions.  Shortly after arrival a partial collapse did occur of the side of the house.  Fortunately, no injuries occurred on this incident.

It required about 2-hours to knock down the bulk of the fire.  One contributing factor to the fire duration was that a natural gas line was feeding it.  The utility had to be shut down before the fire could be extinguished.

Fire Investigators estimated fire loss at $400,000 and have the listed the cause of the fire as undetermined.

This short video was captured by Fire Fighter/Medic Julius W. Lipscomb III upon his apparatus arrival. 


This fire comes on the heels of another unoccupied/vacant house fire that occurred on Tuesday, May 19, just before 5:00 pm.  Firefighters arrived to find fire showing from this house located in the 13000 block of Piscataway Drive in Fort Washington, less than 3 miles away from the Cold Harbour location.  Firefighters were able to quickly control and contain this fire within 20 minutes of arrival.  No injuries were reported.

Fire Investigators estimated fire loss at $100,000 and have the cause of this fire as undetermined.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Emergency Services Awards for Life Saving Actions at Motorcycle Crash

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

Four members of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services were presented with Emergency Services Awards for their actions at the scene of a motorcycle crash. The following were presented with awards;

Amber Leizear, Laurel Volunteer Fire Department
Spiro Dimakas, Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, Inc.
Steve Sobolewski, Volunteer Paramedic, Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad
Donald DeGraves, Firefighter/Medic Technician

On the evening of Monday, January 5, 2015, four off duty members of the Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were traveling separately in the area of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near Greenbelt.  Upon witnessing a motorcycle collide with the rear end of a tractor trailer, each of them stopped to provide assistance and encountered a critically injured male in his early to mid-20s.  The impact from the accident had caused the victim to be thrown from his motorcycle and subsequently run over by the tractor trailer, thereby sustaining serious trauma to both legs.  Due to his extensive injuries and priority status, Public Safety Communications was advised that a helicopter would be necessary.  

Knowing the patient might soon lose consciousness, a concerted effort was made to get the young man’s personal information while treating his injuries.  Now operating as a team, the four worked intensely to control the bleeding from his partially amputated left leg.  He had multiple closed and open fractures to his right leg, and C-spine precautions were maintained because of the severity of the wounds.  A full patient assessment revealed a partially detached ankle, multiple deformities, open fractures, and evidence of a lower spinal injury. 

The initially requested helicopter was cancelled as the patient’s condition rapidly deteriorated, and he was transported by the first arriving EMS unit to the closest Trauma Center.  A full report, including his personal information, was given to the paramedics.  Thankfully, the patient is expected to survive; however, his left leg was too severely damaged and had to be amputated.    

The performance of the four individuals on the scene of this incident is commendable and worthy of recognition.  Their actions reflect well on them personally and exemplifies the excellent caliber of service the Fire/EMS Department strives to provide to the residents of Prince George’s County.

PGFD Deputy Fire Chief McClelland, Amber Leizear and PGCVFRA President Chuck Walker

Branchville Volunteer Chief Leizear, Fire Chief Bashoor and Spiro Dimakas

Fire Fighter/Medic Technician DeGraves and Fire Chief Bashoor

Fire Chief Returns from Fire Service Mission to Brazil

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

Fire Chief Returns from Fire Service Mission to Brazil

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor recently returned from a one-week fire service mission to the City and State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Accompanied by Chief Philip Stitleburg the two-person delegation represented the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) assisting the Sao Paulo Fire Department (SPFD) with planning and implementation of a volunteer fire force.  The current all-paid military fire department of Sao Paulo provides fire and basic EMS service to the third largest city in the world with a metropolitan region of 42,000,000 inhabitants.

The SPFD has an authorized strength of 10,000, however like many fire departments around the world they have struggled to continue hiring in large numbers under shrinking budgets.  The SPFD asked the NFPA for assistance with a plan to recruit volunteers to augment their staff, ultimately creating a three-tiered approach to staffing.  The end-state would create a mixture of all paid, all volunteer, and combination stations – similar to the structure that exists in Prince George’s County currently.  With the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) recognized as the largest combination Fire/EMS Department in North America, the NFPA requested Chief Bashoor provide coordination for the discussion of forming what would ultimately and arguably become the largest combination Fire Department in the world.  Chief Stitleburg is the immediate past Chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council, past Chairman of the NFPA, and currently Chief of the LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department in Whitewater Wisconsin.  Chief Stitleburg provides valuable insight into recruitment and retention of volunteer membership.  The delegation was accompanied for a portion of the trip by NFPA Executive Director for International Operations Olga Caledonia as well as a local translator Anderson Queiroz.

The State of Sao Paulo currently has over 400 cities with populations between 5,000 and 25,000 where there is no fire protection services located.  Current strategies for response result in hour-or-longer response times.  Over a course of time, Chief Bashoor and Chief Stitleburg will be assisting the SPFD with not only a plan for volunteers but also a plan for facility and resource deployment in these cities.  The relationship will be reciprocal, with a Brazilian delegation to visit Prince George’s County in the near future.

Over the past 60 days, the PGFD has hosted fire service delegations from Africa and South Korea.  These delegations requested information about training, budgeting, facility deployment, volunteer services, and many other topics.  We are honored to play a significant role assisting our fire service partners around the world solve problems, serve people, and keep everyone safe.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saving Dah'Mari - A PGFD EMS Week Success Story

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

It is a birthday celebration that he nearly did not have.  On Friday, May 1, 2015, just before 6:00 pm, Firefighters, Medics and Police Officers were dispatched to an injured child with critical injuries in the 6200 block of Central Avenue in Seat Pleasant.  The children were under the cate of their grandmother at the time of the incident.  Senior Emergency Dispatch Aide Fay Madison handled the 911 call made by a Good Samaritan that noticed some commotion in the back seat of a nearby car. The 911 call taker obtained location information and immediately dispatched first responders and remained on the line providing pre-arrival instructions to help control the bleeding.  Two Seat Pleasant Police Officers were the first to arrive and initiated care to the victim.  Firefighter/Medics from the Capitol Heights Fire/EMS Station 805, on-board an engine and ambulance, arrived just seconds later. 

A 7-year-old male, Dah'Mari Jenkins, had sustained an accidental lacerating wound to his right leg from the sharpest of sharp instruments, a surgeon’s scalpel.  The scalpel is believed to have been left inside the vehicle after it was stolen earlier this year and discovered by the 7-year-old and an 8-year-old family member as they played in the back seat of a car in a shopping center parking lot.  The wound severed his femoral artery with an excessive amount of blood loss prior to public safety arrival.  

The severed femoral artery generated an almost total “bleed-out.”   Upon Fire/EMS Department arrival they quickly assessed the patient as having nearly total blood loss and suffering hemorrhagic shock, was unconscious with agonal breathing. 

Dah'Mari was immediately treated, loaded and transported to Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC.  Seat Pleasant Police Officers, Sargent Aaron Forster and Police Officer Joan Powell, facilitated transport of family members and escorted the ambulance to the hospital thereby saving several valuable minutes.  Everyone knew that time was of the essence to get the child to a hospital.  

During transport Fire Fighter/Medic David R. Stream utilized both of his hands to apply direct pressure to the area of the wound and a developing hematoma under the skin, just above the laceration area.  Paramedic Ambulance 838, Chapel Oaks Fire/EMS Station, rendezvoused with the Capitol Heights ambulance on Addison Rd with Fire Fighter/Medic Edward G. Aldaco jumping on-board.   Medic Aldaco was successful in obtaining 2 IV’s providing fluid into the patient.  Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Robert C. Kight Jr. administering oxygen and made 2 attempts to intubate but was not able to complete the procedure as the patient resisted the device.

The Emergency Department staff at CNMC was alerted to the incoming trauma patient and standing-by for his arrival.  They immediately started to stabilize the child with blood transfusions, intubation and a quick trip to the Operating Room for the femoral repair. 

From time of dispatch to arrival at CNMC time was just 22 minutes. Without a doubt, this quick teamwork of 911, Police, Fire/EMS and hospital staff combined with a quick transport to the appropriate treatment center were key to survival.  It is nothing short of a miracle that he not only survived, but was able to be discharged Sunday evening May 3, 2015.

Upon hearing of his discharge Fire Fighter/Medic Kight contacted the family to check on the young child's condition.  Kight learned that Dah'Mari's 8th Birthday is on Thursday, May 7th and asked if he could celebrate it with the firefighters, medics, police officers and hospital staff that worked to save his life just 6 days prior to his birthday.

Individuals involved in Birthday reunion event

Dah’mari Jenkins
Ms. Tracy Jenkins - Grandmother (911 caller)
Ms. Brittney Jenkins - Mother

Dah'Mar's Rescuers

Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications

911 Call Taker – Senior Emergency Dispatch Aide Fay Madison 

Seat Pleasant Police Department

Sargent Aaron Forster
Police Officer Joan Powell

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department

Capitol Heights Engine 805 
OIC Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Robert “Rob” Kight
Driver – Fire Fighter John Princiotta 
Bucket: Fire Fighter Christopher M. Deforest 

Ambulance 805
Driver: Fire Fighter/Medic Daniel R. McGown 
OIC: Fire Fighter/Medic David R.  Stream 

Paramedic Ambulance 838
Driver: Fire Fighter Stephanie M. Washington
OIC: Fire Fighter/Medic Edward Aldaco 

Children's National Health System:  

Dr. Randall (Randy) Burd, Chief of the Division of Trauma and Burn Surgery;
Emily Dorosz, RN, BSN, EMS/Base Station Coordinator;
Liz Berg, RN, BSN, Clinical Manager for Transport Medicine 

Monday, May 18, 2015

West Lanham Hills Video Removed Citing Criminal Investigation

During the late afternoon of May 14 the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department (PGFD 828) responded  and extinguished an auto fire in the rear of a Church on Annapolis Road.  They captured a 30 second video of their approach to the scene and some of the auto that was well involved with fire.

Not aware that the vehicle was involved in a crime in Washington, DC, and the sensitive nature of the criminal investigation, the video was posted on their Facebook page later that day.

Once the volunteer chief of the West Lanham Hills Station became aware of the video today and the circumstances surrounding the vehicle involved, the video was immediately removed.  Fire Investigators thank the volunteer chief for taking such quick action citing the on-going investigation.

Mark E. Brady
Chief Spokesperson
Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department

Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844 Awarded Charmin Prize After Sincere Citizen Nomination

The Charmin Relief Project “Butts That Save Our Butts” Campaign

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

For the second consecutive year, a Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) station has been awarded a year's supply of Charmin toilet paper. 

Last years recipients, Chillum-Adelphi Fire/EMS Station 834, was kind enough to share their years supply with their neighboring station, Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844.  

This year it is the Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844 that is the 2015 "Butts That Save Our Butts" winner of a year's supply of Charmin toilet paper.  In keeping with the high standard set last year, Station 844 is splitting the prize with Station 834.  

Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844 was selected as a winner after being nominated by a Chillum resident.  In her nomination the citizen stated;

"I have a neighbor who has been ailing with cancer for the past six years.  These fire fighters in this firehouse have been to my neighbors house all the time to assist him no matter what time or under which kind of weather they always here in time.  I also live in a flood zone area and whenever there is danger or flood warning or any kind threat they would arrive to assist with a smile on their face that gives me courage even if I was afraid.  I do salute them for many things they do going door to door to check fire alarms if in order, looking for elderly who are lost due to confusion to house fires they have been there for us."

Well deserved recognition for the crew from 844 and surrounding areas that obviously have impressed this citizen.  Congratulations!!!

Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Danon P. Ushinski works at Station 844 and stated, "While the prize is rewarding and will be put to good use by everyone that works here, I believe our biggest reward was the kind words included in the nomination written by a citizen."

Firefighter/Medics assigned to Chillum Fire/EMS Station 844 show their appreciation to Charmin for selecting them to receive a year's supply of toilet paper.

Memorial Day Safety Tips

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

Memorial Day is commonly thought of as the start of summer.  Most students are still in school and the pool water may might be "just right" after some warm days but the traditional start of summer is here.  Summer vacations are being planned, however,  "staycations" are becoming more popular with residents staying at home enjoying swimming, BBQ'ing and planning many other fun activities right here in Prince George's County.  The Memorial Day weekend is when many private, public and home swimming pools open as well as BBQ grills are cleaned off and readied for summer cook-outs.

The men and women of your Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department (PGFD) unfortunately have seen many festive occasions quickly turn into tragedy when a swimming incident or BBQ grill fire erupt.  We want to help you avoid those circumstances.

Everyone needs to keep safety at the forefront of every activity.  We offer these common sense safety tips that will help to keep everyone safe including our firefighters and paramedics.  By you staying safe keeps our emergency personnel in the Fire/EMS Station and available for other incidents.  Remember, "Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home."

Grill Safety

"It is anticipated that many backyard barbecue's will be in use over the course of this upcoming long holiday weekend and throughout the summer months. The PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

Swim Safely

Currently our forecast calls for a beautiful Holiday weekend and thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.

For parents:

•Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning.

•Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•Learn CPR. Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

For home pool owners and managers:

•Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•Use self closing latches and gates.

•Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles   

Speaking of swimming pools, Firefighter/Medics can perform a wide variety of services, emergency and non-emergency, to assist our citizens, visitors and businesses.  One of the services we do not provide is to fill your swimming pool with water.  Please contact a contractor that can provide this service for you.   

As always, never drink and drive.

The combined career, civilian and volunteer men and women of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department wishes everyone a festive and safe Memorial Day.  Keep safety in every aspect of your event!!!

Scald Prevention Public Service Announcement

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oxon Hill Apartment Fire with Civilian Fatality - Audrey Lane

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

Firefighters from the Oxon Hill area were alerted to a call for smoke inside of an apartment building with a smoke alarm sounding this morning.  At around 5:00 am, Sunday, May 17, Fire/EMS units responded to a 3-story apartment building in the 600 block of Audrey Lane and arrived to confirm the 911 callers report of smoke in the hallway. 

Firefighters entered a third floor apartment where the smoke alarm was sounding and found a relatively small fire inside the apartment.  The fire was quickly contained and extinguished.  An adult female was found in the area of fire origin with burn injuries and pronounced deceased.

A working smoke alarm was found inside the apartment of origin.  The base of the alarm was correctly located in the hallway just outside of the sleeping area.  However, the actual smoke alarm itself had previously been removed from the base and placed inside of a hallway closet.  The alarm still was able to detect smoke and emitted an audible warning albeit more than likely delayed due to it’s location.

The Prince George’s County Office of the Fire Marshal will be investigating the cause and origin of the fire.  As is standard operating procedure the County Police will assist with the investigation while a cause of the fire is determined.  If the cause is found to be accidental the Fire/EMS Department will continue as lead investigators.   If the cause is suspicious, the Police will take the lead investigatory role.  The cause currently is under investigation.

Fire damage was minimal and contained to the area of origin in the third floor apartment.  Displacement of other residents of the building will be limited if any.  The County Citizen Services Unit will work with the Fire/EMS Department to determine if displacement will be necessary.

The identity of the deceased will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Top floor apartment (lights on) shows no exterior sign of any smoke or fire damage. (PGFD)