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Monday, October 29, 2018

Upper Marlboro Female Arrested for Setting Fire to Mothers Home

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

A 25-year-old female has been arrested and charged with Arson and other related crimes for setting her mother’s home on fire. 

Prince George’s County Firefighters responded to a fire just before 1:00 am, Monday, October 29, 2018 at a mobile home park in Upper Marlboro.  Public Safety Communications (PSC) had initially received a 911 call for a female damaging her mother’s property and a subsequent 911 call reported a fire at the same location.   Both the County Police and Fire/EMS Department responded to 9115 Marlboro Pike, trailer home lot #62, in Upper Marlboro and arrived to find fire showing from the mobile home.

The fire was extinguished without incident.  Fire loss was estimated at $80,000 to the structure and contents.

Personnel from the Fire/EMS Department Office of the Fire Marshal were alerted to the call and Investigators determined the fire to be incendiary in nature.

Through the course of the investigation it was determined that the home occupant’s adult daughter set the mobile home on fire. Amanda Hooker, 25-year-old female of Upper Marlboro was arrested and transported to the Department of Corrections in Upper Marlboro.

Amanda Hooker has been charged with the following crimes:

Arson- First Degree
Arson- 2nd Degree
Malicious Burning 1st Degree
Malicious Burning 2nd Degree

Amanda Hooker, 25-year-old female of Upper Marlboro was arrested
after allegedly setting her mother mobile home on fire.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PGFD and ASPCA Halloween Safety Tips for our Pets

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Public Information Officer, 240-508-7930

MEBrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO


for Pets

Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky. The ASPCA recommends taking these simple, common sense precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy.

Stash the Treats

The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters, not Baylee or Fluffy. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach

While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.

Be Careful with Costumes

For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandanna instead.

Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable

Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door, and too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Redskins Offer Discounted Tickets for First Responders

Click here for Ticket Offer

Promotional Code: PGHERO

Halloween Safety

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

The fun and excitement surrounding Halloween can suddenly turn to sorrow and misfortune through one careless act. The incidence of fire, accident, and injury often increases during holidays and festive events. Each year, firefighters and paramedics witness incidents on Halloween that could have been prevented had simple safety rules been followed. Among the high-risk activities on Halloween; door-to-door trick-or-treating is one of greatest concerns to Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department personnel. Between 4:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Halloween, there is a significant increase in falls, burn-related injuries, and pedestrian injuries. Children are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night during the year. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries on Halloween. Additionally, many parties and festivities are planned over the Halloween weekend which could result in an increase in adult alcohol consumption with inherent dangers. 

Often, there are safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that can be fun and also risk-free. Local houses of worship and schools may plan Halloween parties, or families may get together and conduct games and activities instead of allowing young children to engage in trick-or-treating in neighborhoods or along busy streets. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale urges adults to take a more pro-active role in activities on Halloween. Additionally, he reminds adults to be vigilant and exercise due caution when traveling to avoid automobile related crashes. Barksdale stated, “Remember safety should be a priority and lets work together to ensure everyone goes home.”

For those who plan to venture out trick-or-treating, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department would like to offer the following safety tips so that all might enjoy a happy and safe Halloween:

• Costumes should be made of flame resistant light-colored fabric or have reflective qualities. They should be short enough so as not to interfere with walking or become entangled in bicycle chains. Use facial makeup rather than masks so children can see easily. 

• Children should carry flashlights and not use candles or torches. Before leaving the home, children should discuss the proposed route, time of return, and companions. An adult should always accompany younger children. It is advisable to visit the homes of persons you know or local familiar neighborhoods, stopping at well-lit houses only. As a general rule, children should avoid entering homes or apartments and always travel with a companion. 

• Children should avoid busy streets, always use sidewalks, and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Motorists should avoid all unnecessary travel on Halloween evening, and when driving they should drive slowly and be alert to small children crossing streets. Many accidents occur when motorists are backing vehicles out of driveways, unaware of the presence of small children. 

• Halloween treats should be saved until children return home where adults can examine all items closely. Treats that are unwrapped, or show signs of having been opened, should not be eaten. Fruit should be sliced into small pieces and checked for foreign objects. Keep small pieces of candy away from infants and very small children, as they can easily become lodged in the throat and cause choking. 

• Persons receiving trick-or-treaters should keep a light on and pick up obstacles that could cause a child to trip and become injured. Jack-o-lanterns should be kept clear of doorsteps and landings. Consider the possibility of using flashlights instead of candles to light Jack-o-lanterns. Keep dogs and other pets away from doors so children will not become frightened.

A recent trend in celebrating Halloween has been to celebrate as groups at parties or community events in addition to more adult Halloween parties being held. This trend has resulted in fewer door-to-door trick-or-treaters, however, creates additional vehicles on the street. With Halloween falling on Wednesday, October 31, there are numerous additional Halloween parties planned for both adults and children over the October 26, 27 and 28th weekend. 

When festive occasions are celebrated involving adults, the consumption of alcohol goes up. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department offers these everyday reminders and safety tips to party-goers:

• Never drink and drive. 

• Always wear your seat belt and ensure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well. 

• If you are wearing a costume – vehicle occupants, including the driver, should not wear a mask or head dressing as this may block the view of the driver. 

• Be aware that there are still many trick or treaters walking and crossing streets – slow your speed and use extreme care while driving. 

• Use battery powered illumination instead of candles at your Halloween celebration, including inside of your carved pumpkin.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

History of PGFD Pink Engine "Courage"

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

After a successful campaign promoting “Breast Cancer Awareness” with a pink wrapped fire engine the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department expanded the campaign to include two new “painted” units.  County Executive Rushern Baker and the Prince George's County Council approved funding for the manufacture of two brand new pink-painted response units.  There is no difference in cost to paint a unit pink vs. red or any other traditional color.  One pink fire engine and one pink transport ambulance have been placed into full time service around the County.

With the advent of these new units in October of 2014, the Department conducted a social media 'naming' campaign to provide identity for the units. The 2014 Pierce engine was named "Courage", while the 2014 Freightliner/Horton paramedic transport unit was named "Hope."  In addition to being painted pink and white, "Courage" sports a lavender reflective safety-stripe.  Together the pink and lavender design represents cancer-awareness across the disease spectrum.

Over the past 4 years these pink units have been showcased at events across the region, including; the United States Congressional Women's Softball tournament, The Redskins “think Pink” NFL game, the Naval District Washington 5k run, the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, Annapolis St Baldricks fundraisers, and various other events and conferences.  The units are always favorites and are routinely recognized as emotional boosters for cancer survivors and those now suffering from the disease.

The next phase of the "pink-team campaign" was allowing employees and volunteers to wear pink uniform shirts during the month of October (breast cancer awareness month), members voluntarily purchase their own shirts and sport them during emergency responses during October, further spreading the cancer awareness message across all 45 community-based fire/EMS stations.

Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale said, "We have had 2 members succumb to occupational cancer over the past 2 years.  Cancer awareness and prevention are important to our members and are now part of our everyday life in the Fire/EMS service.  The message and mission of cancer awareness and research are especially poignant and personal for myself and the Department this year.”  
Fans attending game will be welcomed by Tanya Snyder, and hundreds of Alpha members distributing THINK-PINK!® ribbons and breast cancer awareness educational materials. Look for PGFD Pink Engine at with   Image taken pre-game on October 14, 2018 pre-game at FedExField

"Courage" with PGFD Firefighter/Medics and the Redskins Cheerleaders pre-game October 14, 2018 at FedExField

PGFD File Image from 2014

Friday, October 12, 2018

MEDIA NOTES - PGFD Line of Duty Death Funeral Service on Saturday

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

The Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department continues to mourn and remember Firefighter Jesse Wade McCullough.  Firefighter McCullough passed away on October 9, 2018, after his heroic battle against occupational cancer.  Firefighter McCullough will be honored with a line-of-duty funeral, to be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018 (details below): 

Saturday, October 13th, 0900 at: 
First Baptist Church of Glenarden
600 Watkins Park Dr. 
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Funeral service will follow the viewing at 1100

Saturday, October 13th, 1400 at: 
Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc.
PGFD Station 835
125 Crescent Rd.
Greenbelt, MD 20770 


·      Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics, honor guards, pipes and drums as well as public safety personnel from other agencies and departments will report for line up at 7:30 am at First Baptist Church of Glenarden.  

·      The funeral procession is scheduled to arrive at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden at 8:30 am.  Everyone must display the utmost respect at all times while on the church property.

·      Church policy does not permit media cameras or recording devices inside the building.

·      At this point no family will be available for interviews.

·      Services will be available via live streaming at:


·      Media should notify Mark Brady, PGFD Chief PIO, by phone call or text at 240-508-7930 if you plan to cover this event.

Many on duty Prince George’s County Firefighters will be attending funeral services thanks to other area jurisdictions departments filling in our stations and responding on calls.  These jurisdictions include:

District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department
Montgomery County Department of Fire and Rescue Services
Alexandria City Fire Department
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
BWI Airport Fire Department
Charles County Fire and EMS Department
Providence VFD (Baltimore County)
Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services
Anne Arundel County Fire Department
Calvert County Fire Rescue EMS Department
Annapolis City Fire Department
Queens Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services

Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Civilian Fire Fatality and the Dangers of Needing a Key to Exit

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

A Fort Washington resident removed by firefighters from her burning home has died.  At around 8:20 pm, Thursday, October 4th, firefighters arrived at a 1-story single family home at 9000 Old Palmer Road with smoke showing. 

Firefighters located an unconscious female just inside the front door and removed her to awaiting medics outside.  Medics assessed her condition as having no pulse and not breathing and immediately started attempts to save her life.  Medics were able to regain a pulse, however, the patient remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.  Tragically, despite the very best efforts of firefighters, medics and hospital staff the patient died on Friday, October 5th.  The victim, also listed as the homeowner, has been identified as Eka Usoro, DOB 3/23/1953.

The fire was located and extinguished.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Fire loss is estimated at $75,000.  Firefighters initially believed the occupant was alerted by a working smoke alarm, however, fire investigators determined there were no working smoking alarms in the house.

Furthermore, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale expressed his concern and frustration about the use of double cylinder deadbolts that require a key to unlock from both sides of the door.  The victim from Old Palmer Road was found by the front door with a key to the deadbolt in her hands.  “No one should ever have to use a key to get out of their house,” said Barksdale.  “This is the third fire this year resulting in 4 deaths of home occupants where these double cylinder deadbolts were present and possibly hampered their egress.”  In all 3 incidents (highlighted in red on list below) the victims were found either at or near the front or rear doors with double cylinder deadbolts.  The Crelin Place and Old Palmer Road incidents; the victims had keys to the deadbolt lock in their hands.

The Old Palmer Road incident is the 11th residential fire fatality this year with an accidental or undetermined cause.:

#1 - February 11 – 6000 block of North Hilmar Circle in District Heights.
No working smoke alarms in home.  Deceased: 84 years-of-age.

#2 and #3 - March 8 – 500 block of Round Tree Drive in Fort Washington.
No working smoke alarms in home.  Deceased: 75 and 80 years-of-age.

#4 - March 11 – 4200 block of Monroe Street in Colmar Manor.
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased: 70 years-of-age.

#5 and #6 - March 22 – 3400 block of Eastern Avenue in Mount Rainier.
1 working smoke alarm in basement.  Fire and occupants on upper floors.
Deceased: 83 and 87 years-of-age.

#7 - April 10 – 4600 Brookfield Drive in Suitland.
Working smoke alarm was present.  Deceased: 50 year-of-age.

#8 - May 12 – 10400 block of Howard Court in Beltsville.
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased: 35 years-of-age.

#9 - May 24 – La Quinta Hotel – Hampton Park Blvd in Capital Heights
Hotel Room with alarm/sprinkler     Deceased 36 year-old-male

#10 - September 8 – 4307 Crelin Place in Lanham
No working smoke alarm      Deceased female

#11 – October 4 – 9000 Old Palmer Road in Fort Washington
No working smoke alarms in house.  Deceased 65-year-old female.

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department does not support the use of double cylinder deadbolts and strongly recommend that residents replace the deadbolts with ones that can be operated without a key.

We also remind all homeowners, citizens, residents and businesses, by law, you are required to install 10-year smoke alarms.  A 10-year smoke alarm is required on every levels of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas.  All of your alarms should be tested at least once-a-month.  We recommend using the Safety 1st Day of Every Month to perform this task.  

The Fire/EMS Department strongly recommends installing 10-year smoke alarms in every bedroom and to sleep with your bedroom door closed. An escape plan to exit your home should be planned and practiced.  Your plan should include 2 ways out of every room in your house.

Of our 11 fire related fatalities this year 7 of the 11 had no working smoke alarms.  2 fatalities of the 11 had 1 working smoke alarm located in the basement which had no early warning of the fire located on upper floors which is where the deceased were located.

Prince Georges County law also requires the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors on every level of your home if you have a gas service for appliances, a fireplace and/or an attached garage.

Prince George’s County homeowners that need a 10-year smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one themselves can call 311 and ask about our smoke alarm program.  A firefighter will come to your house and install a 10-year smoke alarm for you at no charge.

An updated Maryland smoke alarm law went into effect on October 1, 2018 requiring that all commercial establishments selling smoke alarms only offer the 10-year model.  The goal is to eliminate all 9-volt battery smoke alarms for sale and use in the home.  A non-working smoke alarm was found inside the home on Old Palmer Road with a dead battery.