MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
It wasn’t long after funeral and interment services for Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant John “Skillet” Ulmschneider were complete in St. Mary’s County that many members of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department were returning home.
Assistant Fire Chief Darren O. Ware was assigned to work at the Command Post to coordinate the large amount of mutual aid fire and EMS resources in the County were tracked and adequate. He had been released and making his way home.
As he travelled near the area of northbound Crain Highway (Route 301) near Brandywine Road in Brandywine, he saw a vehicle off the side of Route 301 with fire and smoke coming from the underside of a vehicle. As he got closer he saw a female still in the vehicle in the drivers seat. He immediately pulled to the side of the road and ran back to vehicle.
It was at that point that retired PGFD Deputy Fire Chief Tyrone Wells, now working with the Office of Emergency Management, saw Chief Ware running alongside the road and then he saw the fire. Wells also stopped and ran towards the burning vehicle.
Ware described what happened next, “I immediately ran to the vehicle and attempted to open the door and remove her from the driver door. The door was locked. The occupant looked up at me but was not responsive to my instructions to unlock the door. Chief Wells arrived at that time and with the help of a civilian carrying a heavy hand tool managed to break the drivers side back window and the passenger side front window.”
The female driver appeared to be suffering from a medical incident and was not cohesive enough to follow instructions from rescuers.
During the initial extrication attempt the driver pushed the accelerator causing her vehicle to move forward and further down an embankment. The position of the vehicle prevented extrication from the drivers side of the vehicle.
Chief Ware stated, “Because of the new angle of the vehicle access was attempted through the passenger side front door. I was able to gain access to the patient and pull her through the passenger side window. We were able to get her up the embankment and away from the burning vehicle.”
Other Department members returning from the funeral services also stopped to help. Assistant Fire Chief Paul Cruz and Greenbelt Volunteer EMS Sargent Ashley Kozlowski stopped and provided care to the patient until the arrival of Medics. The adult female did not appear to have been injured but was suffering from an unknown medical incident.
Had it not been for the quick actions of Assistant Fire Chief Ware, Tyrone Wells and a yet to be identified Good Samaritan citizen the outcome would have had a tragic ending.
The video was captured by Ware shortly after he removed the female from the vehicle.