Video from phillyfirenews of a house fire today on Reiffs Mill Road in Ambler Boro, Pennsylvania (Montgomery County). While the evacuation tones and airhorns are heard two separate times on the video, the audio appears to be the same evacuation from two different angles, even though the video shows some different action going on the second time your hear the evac tones (indicating the sound is dubbed pn one of them). J.D. Brooke reposted this video with the original audio at the 3:14 mark instead of the earlier evac order being dubbed in.
As for the evacuation, it appears not everyone came out. The conversation from firefighters questioning the water still being put on the attic fire from inside indicates that it was being applied via the first floor. There are also firefighters being told to go in and help someone out who was still inside. It’s unclear if this was related to the injured firefighters PhillyFireNews.com reports about below:
The fire extended into numerous void spaces on the second floor. Several firefighters were caught in a flash over on the second floor. Command evacuated the dwelling due to heavy fire conditions. Exterior lines were placed in to operations. Two Firefighter were transported to the hospital. One with burns to his ears, second with a laceration.
Crews spent several hours Sunday night and Monday morning fighting a house fire in Manistee.
Crews responded to the fire in the 200 block of St. Mary’s Parkway at about 9:00pm and found the building in flames. Shortly after police crews arrived, there was a “flashover” and the entire front of the house went up in flames.
Watch the attached video from Manistee Police for the flashover which happens about two minutes in.
Over two years have passed since firefighter Mark Falkenhan was killed at an apartment fire on Dowling Circle in Towson. His death resulted, in part, from a collapse of the Incident Command System (ICS), when first-arriving units were faced with heavy fire and multiple rescues. ICS is a procedural policy for ensuring that command and control mechanisms are continually utilized during mitigation efforts at every incident. “Command” is assumed by the officer of the first-arriving unit and passed to the responding chief officer upon his or her arrival.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducts investigations of fires that result in firefighter deaths. Among the recommendations made by the NIOSH investigation of the Dowling Circle fire was the following: “Increase command officer staffing to ensure fire fighter safety during emergency operations.”
Despite the clear findings of the NIOSH, very few operational changes have been implemented by the Baltimore County Fire Department to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, and nothing has been done to improve command staffing.
In fact, Baltimore County has fewer on-duty command officers (per capita) than any other department in the metro area. Baltimore County has only three command officers on duty at any given time. Similar-sized jurisdictions (Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore City) typically have six to 10 command officers on duty. These departments understand how essential it is to provide adequate command and control on the fireground by enabling command officers to reach the incident scene quickly.
By virtue of the limited number of command officers in Baltimore County, each officer is responsible for a very large geographic area (battalion). Therefore, response times for command officers are excessive. It is not unusual for battalion chiefs to take 20 or even 25 minutes to respond to an incident. These chiefs arrive too late to command incidents during the critical early stages of the fire attack, which is typically when things go wrong — sometimes very wrong.
On Jan. 11, 2011, it took approximately 20 minutes for the initial battalion chief to arrive at the fire that claimed Mark Falkenhan’s life. Upon arrival, that chief immediately made the determination that the building was not safe for interior firefighting operations; he ordered the evacuation of the building. Seconds later, Mark transmitted the “Mayday,” signaling that he was trapped in a third floor apartment. What would have happened if the battalion chief had arrived one minute (or even 30 seconds) earlier that day?
This past Wednesday, firefighter Gene Kirchner, 25, of the Reisterstown Volunteer Fire Company was critically injured during a house fire with people trapped. Although the facts surrounding his injuries are yet to be determined, it seems highly likely that in this case too, his injuries resulted in part from the delayed response of a command officer. The command officer was responding from the Woodlawn/Catonsville area, as would normally be the case. A response from that location to Reisterstown takes about 15 minutes.
I joined the Baltimore County Fire Department in 1987, when the department had six battalion chiefs on duty on each shift. Today, there are just three battalion chiefs on duty on each shift. Each chief oversees 16-20 stations. Each chief covers more than 200 square miles. Unlike other departments in the region that assign multiple chief officers on structure fires, Baltimore County dispatches just one. Baltimore County’s fire and EMS personnel are at unacceptable risk of injury and death because there are too few command officers.
I retired as a division chief in February 2012. Throughout my tenure, I remained vehemently opposed to the reduction in command staff that occurred during the 1990s. There are a number of reasons I decided to retire, but my inability to convince the administration of the need to improve command staffing levels (especially in light of Mark’s death) was certainly a factor. I didn’t want to be the chief-in-charge of an incident at which we lost another firefighter whose death might have been prevented by enhancing command staffing.
Two months following my retirement, I met with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. I wanted him to hear from me how dire this situation is. I told him I feared that if command staffing did not improve, another incident would claim the life of a firefighter in Baltimore County. To Gene, the Kirchner family, and to all my brothers and sisters in the Baltimore County Fire Service, I’m praying I was wrong.
This was uploaded to YouTube today (Sunday) by george cribbs and is quite interesting. It is a two-alarm fire at 914 Kensington Avennue in Buffalo, New York from April 26, 1998. It begins with sirens and airhorns sounding, a lot of fire on the second floor and firefighters escaping via a ladder to the window of the one room on the second floor that isn’t burning.
Audio and video above from alertpage of a fire this morning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that left two firefighters injured who were trying to rescue a mother and six-year-old girl trapped in the rowhouse on Madison Street. The firefighters were injured during a flashover. Lt. Andre Kelley is in critical but stable condition and Firefighter Tom Benders has been treated and released.
The two firefighters were injured as they were fighting the fire on the second floor and it “flashed over,” (Lt. Ken) Wright said.
Firefighter (Lt.) Andre Kelley was in critical but stable condition after being flown to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for treatment. He was rescued by his fellow firefighters. Wright said he suffered second-degree burns. The son of a retired city firefighter, Kelley has been with the city fire bureau for more than 10 years, and was honored in 2004 for helping with a rescue in the city.
Firefighter Tom Benders, who was able to get down a flight of stairs and out of the house, was treated for injuries and released.
Firefighters were continuing to search for the woman and child today.
The FireCritic spotted this extremely compelling video from Lt Chris Duncan of Mississippi’s Corinth Fire Department. Here’s the description with the video:
Helmet Cam video of house fire in Corinth, Ms. On 1-11-2013, Corinth FD responded to a house fire with reported explosion and victims trapped. Upon arrival, found house heavily involved in fire. Neigbors had removed a nine month old child from bedroom. Upon arrival Lt. from E-401 was advised that father was still inside. Lt. made entry into bedroom, located and removed victim just prior to room igniting.
One victim was seriously injured in Friday night’s house fire while the other has been released from the hospital. A nine-month-old baby who was in the home at 1803 East Fifth Street has been released and is doing well, said Assistant Fire Chief John Wood. However, Don Pruitt, who dropped the baby out a window to safety, has serious injuries and is at the burn center at Crossgates River Oaks Hospital in Brandon.
On the day they buried Capt. Herbie Johnson, a veteran TV anchor used his commentary section to urge city leaders to work out a new contract with Chicago firefighters. Here’s an excerpt:
We owe his memory, and his fellows, some payback – and the respect of a new contract. They’ve been saving lives without a contract for four and a half months.
City Hall, skimping on a contract, aiming to take away the firefighter clothing allowance and holiday pay and physical fitness incentive. Don’t do that, don’t insult Capt. Johnson’s memory. Think about him, feel for him.
This is video just uploaded yesterday that a neighbor shot of Friday’s house fire that took the life of Chicago Fire Department Capt. Herbie Johnson. The fire occurred at 2315 W. 50th Place and also injured Firefighter Ryan Woods. Click here for our previous coverage of the fire.
“He was the best, he was the best guy,’’ said Chicago Fire Dept. Lt. Steve O’Malley who was relieved by the 54-year-old Johnson this morning about 6 a.m. from Engine 123, Tower Ladder 39, on 51st Street after O’Malley had worked the 48 hour shift.
“He was his usual crazy self, laughing,’’ said O’Malley of the Johnson. “He always had a smile on his face,’’ said O’Malley, whose voice was quaking with emotion during a telephone interview after hearing the news from another firefighter that he passed.
Johnson died at the U. of C. emergency room. Paramedics had to perform CPR on him at the scene, said Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.
Johnson was assigned to Engine Co. 123 in Back of the Yards for the night, but normally worked from firehouses all around the city.
As Ahlheim spoke near the hospital tonight, Chicago Fire Department Truck No. 16 sat at the corner of 58th Street and Drexel Avenue with its ladder extended to mid-air and the roar of its engine sounding, a ritual saluting fallen brethren. A firefighter hoisted the American flag atop the ladder.
Below are tweets about the fire from CFD spokesman Larry Langford (@CFDMedia)
NIOSH released reports into the line of duty deaths of two firefighters whose deaths we covered. Below are the reports and some related links. Both men’s names will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial during Memorial Weekend, October 6 & 7.
January 19, 2011, Baltimore County, MD, Firefighter Mark Falkenhan:
A fairly wild scene at a warehouse fire in Florence, New Jersey (Burlington County) that began late Saturday night and lasted until early this morning. On these videos you will see and hear multiple blasts and ignition of gases that appear to come from a variety of sources. As you will see from this link to an article in The Trentonian there was pretty much nothing left of the structure this morning.
Flames broke out at a warehouse in Florence, NJ just after 11:30 Saturday night. Flames leaped into the air as several explosions went off inside. Part of the roof collapsed, making the fire harder for crews to fight.
Officials at the scene Sunday morning declined to comment on the extent of the blaze, but a lid that was buckled outward for a 55-gallon drum, on the property adjacent to G.J.P. Enterprises and fire fighters pointing to a truck that had also received fire damage across the street tell the tale. The wild late-night fire that raged for five hours until it was placed under control at 4 a.m., though at 11 a.m. some pockets of fire still remained as demolition crews sifted through the wreckage with a large backhoe.
G.J.P Enterprises is a Trenton area business that specializes in distribution of import and export freight that serves all of New Jersey.
The Trentonian was unable to obtain comment from the Chief of the Florence Township Fire Chief at the scene and the cause remains under investigation.
Kevin O’Toole says he has never been more happy to be in a firehouse than he was Tuesday night. And when you learn about his story, you’ll understand why.
It was about seven-thirty at night back on February 24th, an especially windy night in Prince George’s County, when a fire broke out in a two-story house in Riverdale. About a dozen firefighters were battling the blaze when, suddenly, an especially strong gust of wind created a fireball inside the house, injuring all seven firefighters who were on the first floor, including Kevin O’Toole.
The injured firefighters were all taken to the hospital. Six of them were released within a few days, but O’Toole was hospitalized for eight weeks with burns over fifty percent of his body, before going back to his parents’ house on Long Island to continue his recovery.
“You have to remember that your hands aren’t as good as they used to be,” O’Toole said.
On Tuesday, he made his first trip back to his Bladensburg firehouse, where he and a few of the other firefighters injured that February night were honored by Congresswoman Donna Edwards.
The 21-year-old O’Toole, who just graduated from community college, says he’s now considering becoming a professional firefighter. When asked if the fire in Riverdale had make him think twice about running into a burning building again, he paused, but for just a second.
“There are things that people need to do, and I still feel the calling to do that,” O’Toole said.
This is the video (in three parts) the ATF produced to accompany its engineering analysis utilizing Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) of the fire that killed Lutherville VFC Firefighter Mark Falkenhan last year. There are links above to the ATF report by Adam St. John P.E., Fire Protection Engineer ATF Fire Research Laboratory and the internal report the Baltimore County Fire Department released in March. The modeling is matched with the fireground and dispatch radio traffic.
Description with video:
This video summarizes the ATF Fire Research Laboratory’s Engineering Analysis of the fire that occurred at 30 Dowling Circle on January 19th, 2011. ATF Fire Protection Engineers were asked to utilize engineering analysis methods, including computer fire modeling, to assist with determining the route of fire spread and the events that led to the firefighter MAYDAY and subsequent Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Mark Falkenhan.
A press conference with just about every print, television and radio media outlet in the Washington-Baltimore Region present to document this important day, Volunteer Sergeant Kevin O’Toole stepped outside of the hospital for the first time since he was admitted 55 days ago. A significant day in Kevin’s recovery; being discharged from the hospital and starting the next phase as an out patient for the next several months.
Kevin O’Toole, 21 years of age, has been hospitalized since he sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns while battling a Riverdale house fire on February 24. At about 1:30 pm, Kevin was brought from the Burn Unit of Medstar Washington Hospital Center downstairs where he stepped out of the wheelchair. He walked gingerly with his parents, Jeff and Jane O’Toole, Bladensburg Fire Chief Randy Kuenzil and Jason Woods from the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. He greeted fellow members as they stood by Truck 809 and then he made his way to the microphone. Sergeant O’Toole was very gracious in responding to questions about his injuries, recovery process and future plans. Volunteer Chief Kuenzil and Burn Foundation President Woods also provided comments concerning Kevin’s stay at the hospital and recovery.
Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor visited Kevin earlier in the day and wished him the best in his recovery process.
Kevin O’Toole boarded the front seat of Truck 809, the unit that brought him to the house fire where he was injured. Bladensburg’s ladder truck, 2 engines and 2 chiefs buggies departed the hospital en route back to the Fire/EMS Station. He was greeted at the station by a host of firefighters from Bladensburg and other surrounding stations. Kevin’s return now closes the operational aspect of the call now that everyone has gone home.
Kevin will join his parents as they travel back to Bethpage, New York in the morning. He will continue his out patient treatment and physical therapy in Bethpage.
Kevin O’Toole and his family have been told he should be discharged sometime between 1 pm and 2 pm. Kevin can be soft spoken and does not relish the media spotlight. He has agreed to make comments to the media after he leaves the hospital and before he boards Bladensburg Truck 809, the unit he was on the night of the fire, for a return trip home, the fire station, to ceremoniously close the incident.
Kevin will not address the incident itself and requests the media refrain from asking those questions. He will respond to questions about his injuries, treatment, support and immediate plans for the future
O’Toole was the most serviously injured of seven firefighters in the wind driven February 24 house fire on 57th Avenue.
A veteran firefighter — whose brush with death from a sudden explosion during a Brooklyn blaze last year was captured on video — walked out of a Manhattan hospital today after a miraculous recovery.
Robert Wiedmann, dressed in an FDNY T-shirt and with his arms still bandaged, flashed a grin as he thanked the doctors, family and fellow smoke-eaters for their support throughout his 10 grueling operations since the Dec. 19 fire in Crown Heights.
“I never thought I wouldn’t walk out of here,” said Wiedmann, 38, of Islip Terrace. “It took three months, but I did it.”
“Three months is a long time — it’s an emotional day obviously,” said Robert Wiedmann, 38, who had serious burns on more than 50 percent of his body after the Dec. 19 fire on the third floor of a brownstone on Prospect Place in Crown Heights.
Wiedmann and firefighter James Gersbeck became trapped inside the building; Gersbeck also suffered burns but was able to escape, while Wiedmann was engulfed in flames. He had to be rescued through a window.
Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said that Wiedmann’s “commitment, his perseverance, has given every member of this department an uplifting spirit of hope, resilience and recovery.”
In fairness to those units involved in this incident, the investigating team had the advantage of examining this incident over the period of several months. Furthermore, given the size and nature of the event, and the fact that arriving crews were met with serious fire conditions and several residents trapped and in immediate danger, all personnel should be commended for their efforts for performing several rescues which prevented an even greater tragedy. The team did not identify a particular primary reason for FF Falkenhan’s death. What were identified were many secondary issues involving but not limited to crew integrity, incident command, strategy and tactics, and communications. These issues are identified and discussed, and recommendations are made in appropriate sections of the report, as well as in a consolidated format in the Appendix.
Some of the issues identified in this report may require some type of change to current practices, policies, procedures or equipment. Most, however, do not. Specifically, the analysis and recommendations regarding Incident Command and Strategy and Tactics show that if current policies and procedures are adhered to, the opportunity for catastrophic problems may be reduced.
Mark Falkenhan was a well-respected and experienced firefighter. He died performing his duties during a very complex incident with severe fire conditions and unique fire behavior coupled with the immediate need to perform multiple rescues of victims in imminent danger. It would be easy if one particular failure of the system could be identified as the cause of this tragedy. We could fix it and move on. Unfortunately it is not that simple. No incident is “routine”. Mark’s death and this report reinforce that fact.
This morning the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation posted this picture and update on the Foundation's Facebook page with the latest on Bladensburg VFD's Firefighter Kevin O'Toole. They report that Firefighter O'Toole was up and around a bit today and will go for a second round of skin grafts tomorrow. As we reported late last night Firefighter Ethan Sorrell was brought home from the burn unit by Bladensburg's Truck 809 and is back with his family in North Carolina.
Photo by Billy McNeel of Firefighter Sorrell's radio on display at this afternoon's press conference.
At a press conference this afternoon, PGFD announced that an investigation shows the fire Friday night on 57th Avenue that injured seven firefighters was deliberately set.
Here's a press release from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady:
A fire occurred on Friday, February 24, 2012, at 9:11 P.M., in which 7 firefighters were injured and treated at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Six of those injured have been released, with 1 remaining in the Burn Unit. A Press Conference was held at the Fire/EMS Departments Cranford-Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills. The purpose was to bring everyone up to date with the firefighter injuries and announce the cause and origin of the fire.
Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor was elated to announce that Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell has been released from the hospital. Ethan was released on Tuesday evening. He was injured in the fire on Friday evening, February 24, 2012. Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzil informed Chief Bashoor that Sorrell will have a follow up appointment next week. Sorrell returned home with his parents to North Carolina for about a week or until his follow up visit next week.
Upon his return he will more than likely reside at the Bladensburg Fire/EMS Station and make follow-up medical appointments and spending most of his time at the Burn Unit with his fellow firefighter, Kevin O’Toole. He remains in "Critical" but "Stable" condition. Kevin is undergoing medical procedures and skin graph surgeries and is expected to remain in the Burn Unit for up six weeks.
Photo by PGFD's Mark Brady.
As with any fire of this magnitude, a complete and thorough investigation into the cause and origin is conducted. This particular investigation involved investigators from the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s Office of the Fire Marshal; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; County Police Department; and the State’s Attorney’s Office. Investigators have worked around the clock since the incident occurred to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
The investigative team has determined the fire that occurred at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale is the result of arson, the area of origin is the basement. The house next door, 6402 57th Avenue, where a previously unreported fire occurred on an earlier date, is also being investigated as arson. Investigators reached this conclusion based on evidence collected at the scene of both fires. Because this is an open and on-going criminal investigation, evidence cannot and will not be discussed.
Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor stated, “We will leave no stone unturned. Every resource available to us will be used to find the person(s) responsible for setting this fire. Once the responsible person(s) have been identified, we will work with the State’s Attorney to ensure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
States Attorney Angela Alsobrooks spoke and stated, "I am impressed with the case that investigators have put together and agree with the Fire Chief in that we will prosecute the responsible person to the fullest extent of the Law."
In addition to criminal charges related to arson, there could be criminal charges stemming from the injuries to the firefighters.
We are asking for the community‘s involvement and assistance in helping to identify the person(s) responsible for setting these fires. If you have information about either of these incidents, call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). You may also send your tips, SECURELY and ANONYMOUSLY, via TEXT MESSAGE by typing "PGPD" plus your message, and sending it from your cell phone to "CRIMES" (274637). If your information leads the capture of any of these fugitives, you may be eligible for a CASH REWARD up to $1,000.
The Prince George’s County Arson Tip Line will also accept information at 301-77-ARSON, or email 77ARSON@co.pg.md.us.
This picture was posted to Facebook this evening by Bladensburg VFD Captain Kyle Schultz showing Firefighter Ethan Sorrell being released from the Medstar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. Sorrell was brought home on Truck 809, the rig that took him to the fire on 57th Avenue Friday night when he was burned.
Bladensburg VFD Firefighter Kevin O'Toole remains at the burn unit and is expected to do for some time due to burns over 40% of his body.
Earlier today PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady issued this press release outlining the three pronged investigation Chief Marc Bashoor has ordered looking into Friday night's fire that injured seven firefighters:
Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor has stated that he will ensure a thorough and complete investigation into the incident that resulted in seven firefighters being injured. On Friday evening, February 24, 2012, firefighters responded to 911 reports of a house fire at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale. Two of the injured firefighters remain hospitalized in the Burn Unit at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center.
In order to discover the chain of events and circumstances which contributed to the outcome of this incident, Fire Chief Bashoor has issued a high-priority directive for the Department to immediately embark on a thorough investigation which will involve three parallel, ongoing and interrelated disciplines:
• Determination of Cause and Origin – as is customarily conducted under the direction of our Office of the Fire Marshall.
• An Operational Review and After Action Report – Conducted under the direction of our Emergency Services Command.
• A Thorough Safety Audit of the Incident – by a Safety Investigation Team (SIT), this will be conducted under the direction of the Risk Management and Safety Office, by both internal and external partners that the Fire Chief will select.
Fire Chief Bashoor wrote to members of the Fire/EMS Department, "If we are to truly learn from this experience, we MUST first be honest with ourselves and honest and forthcoming with information that these teams will need."
It is important to note that all three Investigative Teams will be regularly communicating their progress. The SIT will be selected from both internal and external resources to assure independent verification of fact.
Bashoor stated. "It is my intent to leave no stone un-turned and no question un-asked as we seek to discover the contributing factors that precipitated this incident. As Fire Chief, I commit to you that each of these inquests will be open and honest. I further commit that the eventual findings will be promptly released in the form of a written After Action Report." He concluded, "This After Action Report will serve to benefit not only firefighters in Prince George's County but will be made available to all fire departments to assist them in avoiding similar circumstances."
An annoucemnt concernng the cause and origin of the fire is ecpected within the next 24 to 48 hours.
UPDATE: PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady who has been keeping us up to date on the injured firefighters has this report, received a little after 6:00 PM -
The injured firefighters, Ethan Sorrell and Kevin O'Toole, continue to show signs of progress each and every day. The volunteers firefighters are still in the Burn Unit ICE at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center.
Ethan had his breathing tube removed and is now breathing on his own. His spirits have increased as he was encouraged to walk the hallways and had the opportunity to spend time with some visitors.
Kevin had skin graph surgery performed on several of his burns today and we were told that it went well.
Both Ethan and Kevin are currently resting at the Doctors direction.
This picture and caption posted just before 4:00 PM on the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation Facebook page shows Bladensburg VFD Firefighter Ethan Sorrell surrounded by family after being taken off of a ventilator. Obviously a good sign that he is breathing on his own, but no official word on updates on Firefighter Sorrell's condition or the condition of Firefighter Kevin O'Toole.
It's a good time to tell you about the great work the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation does. The members of the Foundation are a constant presence whenever a firefighter shows up at the Medstar Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. I have talked to many firefighters who have found themselves in the burn unit and each one and their families always mention the support provided by the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. Make sure you support them.
From the Foundation's website here is a description of what they do:
The D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded by active and retired Washington, D.C. Firefighters. The Foundation is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn patients in the D.C. Metropolitan Area. We support burn research, treatment, and rehabilitation programs at Washington Hospital Center as well as the Children's Burn Camp Program. Firefighters and members of the Burn Center have a special empathy for burn victims. No other group witnesses more of the devastation that fire wreaks on the human body and spirit.
Our board of directors is made up of active and retired D.C. firefighters and our membership consists of firefighters, medical professionals, burn survivors, and other interested volunteers from the community. All members of our organization serve on a voluntary basis.
Photos and information from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady:
Parents of three volunteer firefighters injured in a house fire on Friday evening spoke to members of the media today to personally describe their sons medical status.
Parents of the three firefighters; McClary, Sorrell and O’Toole, County Fire Chief Bashoor and Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli all spoke.
The group took a moment from the Fourth Floor East Burn Unit at Medstar at the Washington Hospital Center and spoke near the front entrance to the hospital.
The mother of Riverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McClary spoke on his behalf and explained that he had been released yesterday. Fire Fighter McClary suffered injuries to his ribs and burns to both hands. Cheryl McClary emotionally stated, “We are very thankful and our hearts are still with the ones that are still in hospital.”
Jeff and Jane O'Toole.
Vann and Kathy Sorrell of Buies Creek, North Carolina, and Jeff and Jane O’Toole of Bethpage, New York, each spoke with members of the media. The parents, no strangers to the fire service, each described their sons current medical status and spoke highly of the care they are receiving at the Burn Unit. They also spoke highly of the support system provided by members of the fire service and the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. Both injured firefighters remain in “Critical” and “Stable” condition. Their parents describe them as being in relatively good spirits and showing some signs of improvement. Each has a long road to recovery.
Vann and Kathy Sorrell.
Jeff O’Toole stated his son has at least 6 weeks in the Burn Unit with another 6 months of physical rehabilitation after that. Kevin O’Toole sustained burns over 40% of his body. He is scheduled for skin graph procedure on Monday. Kevin can communicate by talking.
Ethan Sorrell remains intubated, however, is conscious, and communicates by writing notes. He is scheduled for examinations tomorrow that can help determine the extent of his airway burns.
The Burn Units Medical Staff allowed Ethan to walk over to visit Kevin for a short period of time.
Mark Brady notes that both fathers, Vann Sorrell and Jeff O'Toole, are also firefighters.
PGFD Chief Marc Bashoor and Bladensburg VFD Chief Randy Kuenzli.
Word from the Medstar Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center is that Bladensburg VFD Firefighter Ethan Sorrell and Firefighter Kevin O'Toole remain in critical but stable condition. Sorrell has respiratory burns and O'Toole has second and third degree burns over 40% of his body.
As we reported earlier, O'Toole and Sorrell both requested that the annual Bladensburg VFD banquet on Saturday continue as planned. We are told that Firefighter O'Toole was able to visit the event via Skype.
Riverdale VFD Firefighter Michael McClary went home Saturday afternoon. The picture above and the information below is from the Riverdale VFD website:
Firefighter Michael McClary was released from the hospital this afternoon. He is still suffering from his injuries sustained when crewmembers were forced to make a hasty retreat from a house fire at 6404 57th Ave. in Riverdale Heights when fire conditions coupled with high wind gusts caused fire to envelop the crews from E807B and TK809 upon entry to the house. It is believed that another firefighter fell on top of FF McClary, who suffered bruised ribs and cartilage damage.
PGFD Chief Mark Bashoor and Bladensburg Chief Randy Kuenzli are interviewed in the TV stories on this page about the firefighters and the fire on Friday evening on 57th Avenue.
Strong winds were gusting out of the west at the time — “up to 40, 45 mph,” said the chief. They were blowing directly at — and into — the burning basement, which had a west-facing door.
“As soon as the guys opened the front door and advanced, it blew from the basement, up the steps and right out the front door,” Bashoor said. “It was like a blowtorch coming up the steps and out the door.”
The entire incident — “from the time they were in the door until they were burned” — took eight seconds, the chief said.
The firefighters inside the house “did everything they were trained to do,” he said, but they were essentially defenseless.
“Without that wind, the hot air and gases would have been venting out of the rear of the house,” he said. “The current of air essentially produced a chimney right up the steps and out the front door.”
Notes: Bladensburg VFD Chief Randy Kuenzli confirms both Firefighter Ethan Sorrell and Firefighter Kevin O'Toole have connections to other departments in addition to Bladensburg VFD. Sorrell at the Buies Creek FD in North Carolina and O'Toole at the Bethpage FD on Long Island.
Also, this fire occurred on the same side of 57th Avenue just a few doors away from a November 2008 house fire that left two Riverdale VFD firefighters with burns after a flashover.
In addition, Mark Brady tells STATter911.com the annual banquet for Bladensburg VFD is tonight and that both firefighters have indicated to Chief Kuenzli they want the events to go on as scheduled and for everyone to enjoy themselves.
This fire was at 6318 57th Avenue on November 21, 2008. The flashover burned two firefighters from Riverdale. Picture by Tony George. See more pictures.
Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Ethan Sorrell, 21 years of age, remains in "Critical" condition with burns to his airway. Family members left Durham NC, last night to be with him today.
Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighter Kevin O’Toole, 22 years of age, was evaluated late last night/early this morning as being in "Critical" condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 40% of his body. Family members from Long Island, NY, were en route last night to be with Kevin.
Riverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter Michael McLary, 19 years of age, continued to receive treatment for injuries to his upper body/ribs. His ribs are not fractured, however, bruised with possible cartilage damage. He may be released as early as today. Family members were with him last night.
Dozens of family, friends and fire service personnel have been at the hospital throughout the night with the injured firefighters and remain there today. The Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center, their Doctors and staff are the very best at what they do – treating burn patients.
The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department sincerely appreciates the support provided by the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured firefighters and burn patients in the D.C. Metropolitan Area. Members of the Foundation were at the hospital before the first firefighter arrived and started support efforts for the injured firefighters, family and co-workers. Two of the injured firefighters have primary family members coming from out of town. The Foundation made accommodations for them at a nearby hotel and will continue to provide support for as long as is needed.
Firefighters that have been previously burned and treated at the Burn Unit become members of a fraternity. These firefighters return to the Burn Unit whenever a firefighter receives burn injuries and provide valuable insight to family, friends and co-workers about the treatment and recovery process. One of those fraternity members is Riverdale Volunteer Chief Chuck Ryan. He sustained critical burn injuries while on the job with DCFD. Ryan was at the Burn Unit overnight helping others to understand the treatment process that Bladensburg firefighters were receiving and what to expect in the days to come.
The volunteer leadership of Blandensburg, Riverdale, College Park as well as Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and the entire Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department acknowledge and are grateful the tremendous outpouring and offers of assistance from fire departments across the National Capitol Region. We are also inspired by the numerous well wishes, thoughts and prayers being offered from across the Country for our injured firefighters.
Prince George's County Fire Investigators continue their work to determine the cause and origin of the fire. The investigation is open and on-going. Fire loss to the vacant structure is estimated at $75,000.
Updates on the medical condition of the injured firefighters will be provided as additional information becomes available.
Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor will be at the Washington Hospital Center and will make himself available for comment anytime after 9:30 am. Please contact me to make arrangements.
The only update we have seen since Mark Brady's press release at 1:00 AM is that both firefighters from Bladensburg admitted to the burn center are listed as critical but stable and the Riverdale firefighter with broken ribs is in good condition.
Brady said that the home appeared to be vacant, though a car was parked in the driveway. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and loss estimates were not immediately available
The fire broke out shortly after 9 p.m. Friday at a single-family, single-story home in the 6400 block of 57th Street in Riverdale. Investigators say that firefighters were trying to enter the building when a rush of air from the rear of the house created a fireball that engulfed the respondents. According to Prince George's Fire Spokesman Mark Brady, the sudden rush of air was caused by either a door or window being open or broken out.
Approximately 1:00 AM update from PGFD chief spokesman Mark Brady:
Seven Prince George’s County Firefighters were injured as they battled a house fire in Riverdale. At about 9:11 pm, Friday, February 24, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 6400 block of 57th Avenue. The engine from Riverdale and the truck from Bladensburg were the first to arrive and encountered a 1-story, with basement, single family home with fire on both levels.
Preliminary reports indicate that firefighters had initiated an interior attack on the fire when a sudden rush of air, fanned by high winds, entered from the rear of the house either from a door or window being opened or broken out. The sudden addition of a large amount of fresh air into the fire environment created a “fire ball’ inside engulfing the firefighters. Firefighters did all they could do to escape the untenable conditions that consumed the structure interior.
Incident commanders immediately called for additional resources by requesting an EMS Task Force and a Fire Task Force as well as ordering the evacuation tones to be sounded. There were about 65 firefighters, paramedics and incident commanders on the scene.
Photo by Billy McNeel.
Firefighters and EMS personnel went to the aid of the injured firefighters and prepared them for transport to the Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. The injuries included burns, fractures and lacerations.
Another team of firefighters regrouped outside and re-entered the structure and had the fire extinguished in about 25 minutes after arrival.
Of the seven firefighters transported; four, 3 from Riverdale and 1 from College Park, will be released and sent home tonight.
The most seriously injured firefighters are two from the Bladensburg Fire/EMS Station #809 that were part of the first arriving truck company.
Bladensburg Volunteer Firefighter #1 is listed in “Critical” condition suffering from burn injuries to his upper body.
Bladensburg Volunteer Firefighter #2 is listed in “Serious” condition with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 30% of his body.
The third firefighter being admitted is from Riverdale Fire/EMS Station #807. Riverdale Volunteer Firefighter #1 is hospitalized with fractured ribs.
Dozens of fire service members as well as family and friends are with the injured firefighters at the Washington Hospital Center including Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, Riverdale Volunteer Fire Chief Chucky Ryan and Bladensburg Volunteer Chief Randy Kuenzli.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and fire loss estimates are not yet available. This is a vacant structure although firefighters believed the house may have been occupied as a car was parked in the driveway.
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department will fully investigate this incident and review all aspects of the operations from a safety perspective.
Updates concerning the medical status and the cause and origin of the fire will be made as information becomes available.
UPDATE: According to TV news reports at 11:00 PM, PGFD chief spokesman Mark Brady says a fireball, fueled by high winds, went through the home forcing the firefighters to bail out. Brady said it was like a "blowtorch".
Some firefighters were burned and others were hurt exiting the home. The injuries range from burns, to lacerations and fractures.
Brady told reporters on the scene one firefighter has potentially life threatening burns.
According to Brady, the injured firefighters are volunteers from Riverdale (Station 807) and Bladensburg (Station 809).
A sudden rush of air into the structure caused “blowtorch or furnace-type conditions” that forced the firefighters out of the house, Brady said. “They couldn’t do anything about it.”Wind gusts were measured at more than 40 mph around that time.
Injuries included burns, cuts and fractures, Brady said. One firefighter was in critical condition, he said. The firefighters were being treated at a burn unit, he said.
Seven firefighters were injured while responding to a house fire in the 6300 block of 57th Ave. in Riverdale on Friday night, according to a tweet by the Prince George County Fire Department.
A one story home with a basement had heavy fire, with flames blown into the firefighters' faces by gusting winds. EMS personnel are on the scene. The firefighters, all volunteers, have injuries ranging from minor to serious.