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Friday, April 29, 2011

Firefighter/Medics Awarded for Actions During Takoma Park Bank Incident

The crew staffing Fire/EMS apparatus from the Chillum-Adelphi area on the morning of January 28, 2011, were presented Emergency Services Awards for their actions on the scene of a Takoma Park bank robbery.  Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor visited the Chillum-Adelphi Fire/EMS Station #834 on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 and presented the awards to personnel.  The award letters stated:

        On the morning of January 28, 2011, the Paramedic Engine and Medic units from Chillum-Adelphi Fire/EMS Station 844, along with the Engine and Ambulance from Adelphi Fire/EMS Station 834, were dispatched to New Hampshire and University Boulevard for a reported shooting.  While en route, Public Safety Communications (PSC) advised there were three gunshot victims, including a police officer.  PSC further advised that police had cleared the scene, and it was safe for responding crews to enter.  However, upon arrival, units from Fire/EMS Station 834 observed the scene and deemed it unsafe.  Shortly thereafter, units from Fire/EMS Station 844 arrived but were stopped by police officers, who removed the stretcher from one of the units and proceeded to the incident scene.  Crews were informed there were three confirmed injured, including a police officer who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg.  No additional injuries were reported at that time. 

        At 0945 hours, Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant James E. McClelland, Jr., established the New Hampshire Avenue command.  A gunshot victim was found unconscious and lying handcuffed on the stretcher, and police officers loaded the injured male into the rear of Medic 844.  Subsequently, Fire Fighter Maynard and Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Peters boarded the unit to assist Fire Fighter Granados and Fire Fighter/Medic Wood, who were assessing the unconscious patient.  Two street-clothed police officers, also onboard Medic 844, suddenly jumped from the unit and began running and yelling, “The suspect has a device on him!”  McClelland immediately ordered all crews to evacuate their units, whereupon they relocated away from the scene of the incident.  He advised another police officer that his colleague had warned that the suspect was possibly armed with a device.  Firefighters guided civilians and media personnel away from the hot zone to safety and contacted PSC to provide an update.  You requested to have the bomb squad dispatched and the command staff notified.

        Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Engine 716, unaware that our units were on the scene and had already established command, arrived and established command.  You notified PSC that Montgomery County’s Battalion 701 was on the scene and assuming the New Hampshire Avenue Command, as the incident was in their jurisdiction.  The crews from Adelphi Fire/EMS Station 844 triaged and treated the injured victims, and the wounded police officer was transported by Montgomery County ambulance. 

     The ambulance crew from Fire/EMS Station 834 triaged and treated a patient with a head injury, possibly a gunshot wound to the head.  Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Peters was the ALS provider onboard the unit, which transported the patient to the Trauma Center at Prince George’s Hospital Center.  The remaining crew members, Fire Fighter Curtis L. Chase, Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Jennifer M. Lawhorne and Fire Fighter Anthony Wallach, were utilized to establish a triage of any future patients and were later used as suppression support for bomb squad units operating n the scene.  The medic unit was cleared and deemed safe by bomb squad personnel.  Units were cleared and returned to service after operating for nearly three hours.   

        Despite the various obstacles encountered, your performance on the scene of this incident was nothing short of professional.  You remained calm while operating in life-threatening and hostile conditions.  Additionally, all injured victims were removed to safety and triaged, treated, and transported.   

        For the outstanding manner in which you performed your duties on the scene of this incident, you are hereby presented a Fire/EMS Department Emergency Service Award. 

        Congratulations, and thank you for a job well done.  Your actions represent the excellent service our Department provides to the citizens of Prince George’s County.  

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant James E. McClelland, Jr.

Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Brian J. Granados

Fire Fighter/Medic Technician Jennifer M. Lawhorne

Fire Fighter Curtis L. Chase

Fire Fighter Anthony J. Wallach

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