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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

PGFD is no stranger to natural gas explosions

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

Questions from citizens, residents and businesses continue to be asked about the dangers of natural gas.  The investigation into the cause of the explosion and fire in a Montgomery County apartment complex remains on-going.  Natural gas involvement is just one of the possible causes.

Whenever personnel of the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department hear of these types of tragedies we are reminded of two such incidents.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department is no stranger to the tragedy and devastation of natural gas explosions.  We have responded and dealt with the aftermath of natural gas explosions that have damaged and destroyed homes, apartment buildings and commercial structures.  The Department responds to several incidents every day that involve gas leaks both inside structures and outside.  The vast majority of these are mitigated without incident.

However, two such incidents have had a direct and lasting impact on the Department.

The first career firefighter to suffer a line of duty death was killed when an apartment building exploded and buried him with debris.  Thomas Graves was killed on April 16, 1980 in Greenbelt.

A dashcam on board a fire unit captured dramatic video of a natural gas explosion at a strip mall that injured eight firefighters and a Washington Gas Company employee.  We were extremely fortunate that no one was killed at this incident.  This incident occurred on May 7, 2009 on Donnell Drive in Forestville.

If you smell natural gas inside of a home or business, leave immediately with your door unlocked and call 911 from a safe location outside.

Do not use any device that could cause a spark; cell phone, light switch, lighter, etc.

Safety First Ensures Everyone Goes Home!!!