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Monday, February 25, 2019

Laurel Couple Rescued From House Fire - Updated - Male Dies from Injuries

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

Prince George's County Firefighters responded to a house fire this morning and rescued two occupants from inside their burning home.  At around 9:45 am, Monday, February 25th, firefighters arrived at a 2-story, split-foyer, single family home in the 15400 block of Laurelton Drive in Laurel.  Dispatch personnel from Public Safety Communications advised responding units the 911 caller reported someone, an adult mobility-limited male, was trapped in one of the bedrooms.  The first arriving unit advised of smoke showing and immediately went to work to initiate an interior attack on the fire and search for the trapped occupant.

The fire was located on the top floor kitchen area.  As it turns out there ended up being 2 occupants located by firefighters.  It is believed the couple to be husband and wife.  An adult female, believed to be the initial 911 caller, was found unconscious by firefighters from Laurel Fire/EMS Station 810 and Laurel Rescue Fire/EMS Station 849 and removed outside by way of the interior stairs.  Searches continued with an adult male located in a top floor bedroom by Firefighters from Beltsville Fire/EMS Station 831 and removed by a window and down a ladder.  Both occupants were suffering from smoke inhalation and treated on scene by medics before being transported to area hospitals in serious condition.

The fire was quickly extinguished and caused an estimated $50,000 in fire loss.  The cause of the fire was accidental and attributed to cooking.  Smoke alarms were present and working.  A firefighter sustained a leg injury and transported to a local hospital for treatment.  It is anticipated this will be a treat and release today.

Fire and EMS units from Howard County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County assisted on this incident.

Updated at 9:00 pm EST Monday, February 25, 2019

The adult male occupant rescued by firefighters from his 2nd floor bedroom has succumbed to his smoke inhalation related injuries earlier today at the hospital.  The man is identified as:

John Henry Karwoski, 91 years-of-age, of Laurel, MD.

The adult female rescued by firefighters that was believed to be Karwoski's spouse is actually his caretaker.  She remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Couple Saved by Firefighters from Burning Boulevard Heights Home

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

Firefighters rescued a couple from their burning Boulevard Heights home Sunday evening.  

Just before 10:00 pm, Sunday, February 17th Prince George’s County Firefighters were alerted to a house fire with 911 reports of occupants trapped inside.  The first arriving unit was an engine from District Heights Fire/EMS Station 826.  They arrived at a 2-story single family house in the 4000 block of Byers Street and reported heavy fire showing.

The fire appears to have started in a detached shed next to the house with fire quickly extending into the house through the windows.  The fire officer-in-charge was informed by a member of law enforcement, that had arrived moments before, that he could hear 2 occupants yelling for help from the second floor.  The police officer had attempted entry but was forced back by the thick smoke and intense heat inside the house.  The fire extended inside through the windows and directly impinged on the stairs leading to the top floor where the trapped occupants were awaiting rescue.

The crew knew that time was of the essence as heat and smoke continued to build up in the house.  The crew split up and deployed a charged hose line to initiate extinguishment of the fire and allow access to the interior stairwell.  Two other crewmembers, including a firefighter and the crew officer, in full personal protective equipment, ascended the stairwell following the screams for help.  

An adult male occupant was found near the top of the stairwell and immediately removed by way of the interior stairwell.  The remaining firefighter on the 2ndfloor continued his search and quickly located an adult female in a bedroom.  The firefighter carried her out to safety, again, by way of the interior stairwell.  Both rescues were made possible due to the stairwell being made tenable by the firefighter operating the initial hose line.

Once outside the two civilians were treated by Firefighter/Medics from District Heights and transported to a Trauma Center that specializes in burns and smoke related injuries.  Injuries sustained by the couple were serious, however, appeared to be non-life threatening.

Additional firefighters arrived and continued to work on extinguishing the fire which had now fully extended into the 2ndfloor and attic area. It required about 20 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.

The officer-in-charge of the first arriving engine, Firefighter/Medic Lieutenant Kris Demattia stated, “All the firefighters did an excellent job on the rescue and extinguishing the fire.  Two more minutes and the outcome could have been very different.”

Personnel from the Office of the Fire Marshal have listed the cause of the fire as undetermined with the investigation open and on-going. The area of origin appears to be in a detached structure immediately adjacent to the house.  The fire loss is estimated at $25,000 and no additional injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Fire/EMS and Police Department Conduct Interagency Initiative

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

The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department and Prince George’s County Police Department interact daily to solve both routine and complex emergencies for the citizens and residents of the County.  Part of effective operations is setting expectations of the capabilities of each Department and the approach each takes to provide excellent service delivery. Understanding these important facts early on in the careers of firefighters, paramedics, and police officers is critical.  Recently, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department’s Technical Services Division, led by Acting Assistant Chief Michael Marino and his team, delivered the training course entitled “Fire Operations 101” at the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Training and Education Division for recruit session 139.  Topics discussed included composition of the Department, capabilities of different apparatus and personnel, command structure, basic operations, and common misconceptions. 

“This interagency initiative to educate newly appointed members of the Fire/EMS Department and Police Department provides an opportunity to increase awareness for all public safety responders,” said Fire Chief Benjamin M. Barksdale. “In addition, it also supports many of the recommendations outlined in the newly released Sharon Road Safety Investigation report.”
The training session also focused on the numerous programs where both departments integrate efficiently to share resources.  Instances include the Tactical EMS program, which is one of the busiest in the nation, High Threat Medical Program (TECC) for police, fire, and EMS, and other programs.  In the near future, a reciprocal “Police Operations 101” program with PGPD personnel is planned for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS recruits covering some of the same basic topic areas.  Assistant Chief Marino stated, “I have had the opportunity to complete both the police and fire academy and work on a number of interagency projects understanding these issues firsthand.  Effectively comprehending each Department’s capabilities prior to an incident, from the beginning of a career, will pay dividends for our community and public safety professionals for many years to come.”

Fire/EMS Department’s Emergency Operations Commander, Deputy Fire Chief Brian Frankel, stated, “By starting our focus at the newest members of our agencies, these programs will ensure that all of our emergency response personnel are better prepared to address the needs of our communities.  We are excited about this program as it will continue to build a stronger and more resilient public safety team.” 

Assistant Fire Chief Marino provides classroom instruction to police recruits on FIRE Operations 101