This sure was something I haven’t seen in my 40 years in the area. The DC Fire & EMS Department and the Arlington County Fire Department ran mutual aid to Charles County Maryland this afternoon. For those who don’t know the geography, Prince George’s County borders the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of our Nation’s Capital. Charles County borders the southern portions of Prince George’s County from approximately Accokeek to Baden. Arlington County is across the Potomac River in Virginia and borders the Northwest and Southwest quadrants of DC.
The fire that caused this was described in some news reports as a two-alarm fire and in others a general-alarm fire. The fire was at the Charles County fairgrounds in Bel Alton, south of the county seat of La Plata. Waldorf VFD on the north side of the county sent out the picture below with a tweet thanking DC’s Engine 4 and Truck 7 and Arlington’s Engine 113 for filling in at Waldorf’s quarters.
As The Washington Post’s Peter Hermann mentions below this is reminiscent of the multiple fires on September 8, 2010 that had Chief Dennis Rubin lead two eninges, a truck and a bunch of command officers into Baltimore for the first time since the Great Baltimore fire of 1904.
To think, back in the 70s my co-workers and I at PG Fire Communications caught hell a couple times for bringing some DC units across Southern Avenue to play on a few south side multi-alarm fires.
It could not be determined how many firefighters responded to the fire, though all Charles County firefighters are volunteers. Lon Walls, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said county officials requested help from the District, which sent Engine 2, Engine 4 and Truck 7, along with a deputy chief of operations. The trip is roughly 36 miles.
Mutual aid at such distances is unusual but not unheard of. In September 2010, the D.C. fire department sent at least one engine north on I-95 into West Baltimore to help on a four-alarm fire that destroyed a string of vacant rowhouses.
A two-alarm fire destroyed several structures and caused a brushfire Tuesday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. at the Charles County Fairgrounds, south of La Plata.
Charles County Government Spokeswoman Crystal Hunt said the blaze affected three structures, the livestock barn and two adjacent smaller barns.
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, those fires had been contained, along with the brushfire behind the barns. Hunt said the call was issued as a general call, meaning all fire units in the county responded, along with some from St. Mary’s County. Hunt said that units from Calvert and King George County in Virginia could still potentially respond if necessary.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Raw video & radio traffic: Multi-alarm fire at metal products warehouse in North Arlington, NJ. – January 24, 2013
- Helmet-cam & dash-cam video: A fire in the other PG County. House burns in Disputanta, VA. – January 31, 2013
- UPDATED: Couple arrested in Eastern Shore arsons. Man had been fire captain in Tasley, VA. – April 2, 2013
- Helmet-cam video, fireground audio: House fire in St. Mary’s County, MD. – December 13, 2012
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