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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Leave Backyard Fireworks Out of Your New Year Celebrations

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

The use of fireworks on New Years Eve into New Years Day is second only to the Fourth of July.   Citizens, residents and visitors should be aware that the use of all consumer fireworks in Prince George's County is illegal.  Firefighters and Paramedics recommend that you leave the pyrotechnics to the experts and leave consumer purchased fireworks out of your celebration planning.

Prince George’s County has banned the sale, use and possession of these fireworks based on the danger to our citizens caused by the misuse of these products.  The danger is particularly high and a matter of concern for firefighters and paramedics as many New Year celebrations involve the consumption of alcohol.  Alcohol may impair the judgement and common sense of the most well-intentioned individual and cause injury to themselves or innocent by-standers and ignite a fire.

The Law in Prince George’s County.

• It is illegal for any person to manufacture, possess, store, offer for sale, sell, discharge, use, burn, or explode any fireworks in Prince George's County, Maryland, except that an authorized display may be conducted by a licensed pyrotechnic professional. Penalties for violations of the law include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

• Each year, thousands of people are injured and some killed in accidents involving the use of fireworks. These primarily involve those fireworks classified as 1.4g explosives by the U.S. Department of Transportation, commonly referred to as "consumer fireworks." 

Remember, SAFETY FIRST, will ensure everyone goes home.

Keep in mind that other jurisdictions allow the use of certain consumer fireworks.  Do not be confused with our law in Prince George's County - all consumer fireworks are illegal.  

This is a News Release recently posted by the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

       Maryland State Fire Marshal

News Release

         STATEWIDE (December 31, 2013) – With the arrival of the New Year, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is suggesting that Marylanders should attend public fireworks displays. “I would suggest the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend one of the public fireworks displays offered throughout the state.” stated Geraci.  To help Marylanders enjoy a safer start to the New Year, the State Fire Marshal offers several ways to enjoy fireworks while avoiding injury:

  • Consider attending a professional public fireworks display instead of taking the chance on a potential injury from a private display.  Leave fireworks to the professionals.

     For those individuals who insist on the use of consumer fireworks:

  • Purchase the fireworks in the location where you intend to discharge them. Check with the local municipality to determine what fireworks are considered legal for use in that area.
  • Read and follow label warnings and instructions.
  • Do not allow small children to use fireworks.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while using fireworks.
  • Have a bucket of water or hose available
  • Fully extinguish remains of fireworks in water before disposal.

“Fireworks have been a long tradition of New Year’s celebrations.  Please make safety your number one priority so everyone can enjoy the holiday season.” adds the State Fire Marshal. “By acting responsibly, we can help eliminate fireworks injuries and property damage in Maryland.”


          The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering.  For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: www.mdsp.org/firemarshal and/or http://facebook.com/MarylandStateFireMarshal.
Media contact: Bruce D. Bouch, Deputy State Fire Marshal; 443-324-6876

Largo House Fire - Falcon Drive

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

Fire Fighter/Medic Sara Shaffer holds a family pet that was resuscitated after being removed from burning home.  Photo by Billy McNeel, County Citizens Services Unit.
At around 7:00 am, Tuesday, December 31, 2013, firefighter/medics were alerted to a 911 report of a house fire in the 800 block of Falcon Drive in the Largo area.  Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the basement of a 2-story single family home.

Firefighters initiated an interior attack and search of the house.  An adult male occupant, 20ish years of age, had escaped the burning home prior to the Fire/EMS Department arrival, however, sustained burn injuries and smoke inhalation injuries.  He was treated by paramedics and transported to a Burn Unit with non-life threatening injuries.

Firefighters required 20 minutes to extinguish the fire.  During the search of the home four family pets, 1 dog and 3 cats, were found and removed from the house.  The cats were found lifeless and resuscitative efforts were initiated.  Firefighter/Medics were successful in reviving a cat, however, two cats perished.  The dog appeared to be in good condition.

A total of four adults will be displaced and assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and damage estimates are still being tabulated.  There were no firefighter injuries reported.

PGFD Firefighter/Medics work to revive family pets.  Photo by Fire Chief Marc Bashoor
Courtesy of WUSA TV 9 News

Oxon Hill Apartment Fire - Iverson Street

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

A fire of accidental origin damaged an Oxon Hill apartment building on Monday, December 30, 2013.  At about 9:30 am firefighters from the Oxon Hill area and surrounding communities responded to 1404 Iverson Street and arrived to find a garden style apartment building with light smoke showing.

The fire started after an electrical malfunction in a bathroom ceiling.  The fire extended through the walls to upper floors before the fire was extinguished.  A fire inside of walls and floors is very work intensive as walls and floors must be removed to extinguish the fire and ensure it is out.  Fire loss is estimated at $10,000.  Medics treated one occupant suffering from difficulty breathing after being exposed to smoke inside of her apartment.  There were no transports and no other injuries reported.

It required about 30 minutes to declare the fire out.

14 apartments were declared uninhabitable.  Nine apartments are short-term displacements because of the lack of electric and gas service and 5 apartments due to damage from the fire.  The County Citizen Services Unit, complex management and the American Red Cross assisted the displaced residents.