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Monday, August 1, 2016

Bowie House Fire with Fatality

Media Contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Mebrady@co.pg.md.us.    @PGFDPIO

Just after 7:00 pm on Sunday, July 31, Firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 12000 block of Lofting Court in Bowie.  

Fire/EMS units arrived at a 2-story single family home with fire showing from an attached garage with extension into the second floor.  When firefighters made entry into the burning home they encountered hoarding conditions throughout the structure hampering their ability to maneuver about to conduct searches and extinguish the fire.

At one point, as the fire grew in intensity, all firefighters were evacuated from the structure out of concern for their safety.  Firefighters searched the house as best as they could twice without finding the occupant that was unaccounted for.  Additional fire/EMS units were summoned to the scene to assist with extinguishment and excessive overhaul operations.

After a firefight lasting 75 minutes the fire was declared out.  One firefighter sustained a laceration to his hand and was treated and released at an area hospital.  Fire loss is estimated at $200,000.

As personnel from the Fire/EMS Departments Office of the Fire Marshal initiated a cause and origin investigation a deceased person was located.  As is standard operating procedure the County Police were called to the scene.  A joint investigation with the County Office of the Fire Marshal and the County Police Homicide is now on going. 

An autopsy will be required to identify the deceased and determine the cause of death.  At this point the incident remains under investigation.

Firefighter/Medics will return to the Bowie community today to visit homes and check for working smoke alarms and offer advice on an escape plan.  If you need a working smoke alarm installed in your home please call 311 and ask about the Fire/EMS Departments smoke alarm program.

Safety First Day of the Month - August

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

Today is August 1, 2016, the Safety First Day of the Month.  Having a working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm could be the difference in life or death - yours and your family.  Today is the day that the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department has designated for everyone to test their smoke and CO alarms.  It's simple:

Push the TEST button on the front cover of your smoke and CO alarm.

An audible beeping noise SHOULD sound.  If it does, congratulations, your done until next month.

If it does not sound an audible alarm - replace the battery.  Push the TEST button again - still no alarm - remove the alarm and immediately replace with a new 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke or CO alarm or better yet a 10-year combination smoke/CO alarm.

If your alarms are at about 10 years old or you don't remember if you ever replaced the alarm, do it today!!!  Smoke and CO alarms work all day - every day and will wear down over their 10 year service life.
County Law requires a working smoke alarm in your home.  Over the next two years the law will continue to evolve to require a working 10-year smoke alarm on every level of your home, primarily outside of sleeping areas.

County Law currently requires a working CO detector on every level of your home, primarily, outside of sleeping areas.  This law includes all homes with a gas service (natural, propane, oil, etc), a fireplace or an attached garage.  This law also requires that all hotels, motels, dormitories and all apartments and condos have working CO alarms.

Have you ever noticed that it is sometimes a challenge to reach your alarms installed on your ceiling or high on the wall.  Perhaps you use a step-ladder or stand tall on your toes to reach the test button.  Think about your senior citizen neighbors and relatives that may have difficulty even reaching a light switch.  Test their alarms for them every month, change their batteries at least once-a-year and contact 311 for them if they need a new 10-year smoke alarm installed by firefighters, free of charge.

Don't wait for a firefighter to knock on your door.  If you need a working smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one, call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm program.

Hot Weather

The month of August ushers us into summer and warmer temperatures.  A quick reminder of life-saving actions:

1.     Never leave children or pets in cars.  Heat stroke can occur within minutes and sickness or death will occur very quickly.

2.     During our hazy, hot and humid days - remember to drink plenty of water.  Its how our firefighters and medics stay hydrated and are able to work in hot temperatures.  HHH2 - "Hazy, Hot and Humid = Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate."

3.     Always practice good fire safety habits when discarding cigarettes but pay particular attention when days are labeled "Red Flag" days where fires can start easily and spread rapidly.

Grill Safety

It is anticipated that many backyard barbecue's will be in use throughout the summer months. The PGFD recommend that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

Swim Safely

It is anticipated that thousands of residents will be taking full advantage of swimming pools.  Keeping safety first will help to prevent such a festive occasion from becoming a tragedy.  You should know that 75% of drownings occur in backyard pools.

For parents:

•Always watch your children and never leave them unattended.  A lack of adult supervision is one of the leading contributing factors to children drowning.

•Do not rely on flotation devices to protect your children from drowning. You must supervise at all times.

•Have a phone nearby in the event you need to call 911.

•Have children swim in pairs - the "buddy system"

•If a child is missing - check the pool first.

•Teach your child how to swim. Visit www.pgparks.com/aquatics.htm for additional information.

•Learn CPR. Visit http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class or call the Fire/EMS Department CPR Information line at 301-864-LIVE (5483).

For home pool owners and managers:

•Install a fence around the perimeter of the pool.

•Use self closing latches and gates.

•Install a door alarm from the house to the pool area.

•Have life saving equipment nearby such as life rings or reaching poles   

CPR and AED 

As previously mentioned in swimming pool safety, everyone should take the time how to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED.   You can call 301-864-LIVE (5483) and find locations that teach CPR/AED or click here for additional information.

Back to School Safely

Last but certainly not least is that we will heading back to school at the end of the month.  Always exercise caution and keep an eye out for walkers and those on bicycles and remember to stop when a school bus has red flashers on.