This is the fire that critically burned Firefighter Chuck Ryan who was with Rescue Squad 3. Firefighter Ryan is now back on the job in DC.
You may note another familiar name in the previous coverage of this fire. Robert Alvarado was a lieutenant at the time he was burned. Alvarado has since been demoted to sergeant following his public challenge of Chief Kenneth Ellerbe’s uniform policy (click here).
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.
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 year ago this past Monday 10 Southern Maryland firefighters were injured during a house fire in Calvert County. Four received significant burns. The fire was in a large home at 3380 Soper Road in Huntingtown. Calvert County firefighters were joined by firefighters from Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County and Charles County.
On Thursday, Chief Jonathan Riffe of the Huntingtown VFD released the report looking into the events of that fire.
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.
It's been nearly two months since five D.C. firefighters were injured while fighting a house fire in Northeast. Thursday, the last of those firefighters was released from the hospital and his entire company came out to welcome him home.
"I already feel ten times better. The hospital staff takes care of you and they do a really good job. But, just to be out of the atmosphere of the hospital and be back outside feels great," said D.C. Firefighter Chuck Ryan.
"I can't believe how much he's come back from that night that he was burned," said D.C. Firefighter J.C. Carroll. "It's a tremendous showing of his will-power and love for the job."
Ryan, a D.C. Firefighter and the Chief of the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, was badly burned when the roof collapsed while he was fighting a fire on April 8th, 2011. Four other firefighters were also injured, but Ryan was by far the worst. He had second and third degree burns over 30-percent of his body. Today, his arms, hands, legs, and feet are still covered in bandages. Still, Ryan says he is itching to get back to work.
"Oh I'll be back. Absolutely. 100%. There's no question. I will be back," Ryan said. "I've made it back home. Now my mission is to make it back to work."
WTTG-TV's Paul Wagner interviewed DC Fire & EMS Department Lt. Robert Alvarado and Firefighter Warren Deavers about the fire on 48th Street Northeast on April 8 that left the pair and two other firefighters with burns. Firefighter Charles Ryan and Lt. Ramon Hounshell are still being treated in the Medstar Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center.
The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation website has a series of pictures of Lt. Ramon Hounshell and Firefighter Chuckie Ryan from the Medstar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. Today they were visited by some of the IAFF leadership and others. Here is the Foundation's update on their conditions:
Firefighter Chuckie Ryan continues to improve in the Burn ICU and was able to come off the ventilator today. He is breathing well on his own and continues to show progress with rehab. Firefighter Ryan was pleased to walk five laps around the ICU this afternoon and was able to entertain guests while sitting up in a chair. Chuckie will be taken to the operating room tomorrow for surgery to his lower legs.
Firefighter Ramon Hounshell continues to recover from his surgery earlier this week. He continues to show progress with his rehab and anticipates returning to surgery on Monday.
The site also has details of this fundraiser and blood drive:
The Hogs and Heroes (National) will be holding a Blood Drive to help the DC Firefighters that were recently injured in a house fire on Friday, April 8, 2011. One of the Firefighters is a Hogs and Heroes Maryland Chapter 1 Member. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado, received burns when the ceiling collapsed while fighting the fire. As part of the Blood Drive, we will also be doing an "In House" Poker Run at Old Glory Harley-Davidson. The Proceeds of the Poker Run will be donated to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. We will have a 50/50 Raffle and we will be selling a Limited Addition Event Shirt. The Event will be held Saturday, April 23, 2011 at Old Glory Harley-Davidson 11800 Laurel Bowie Road Laurel, Maryland 20708 from 10am To 4pm
The cost of the Poker Run is $15.00 and the cost of the Limited Addition Event Shirt is $15.00. Please visit www.heroesride.com to download and print a copy of the event flyer.
Lt. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado is the latest of five DC firefighters injured in Friday's fire on 48th Street, Northeast to be released form the Medstar Burn at the Washington Hospital Center.
Also this evening, IAFF Local 36 is making the case that because three of the city's 16 ladder trucks (Trucks 10, 11 & 16) were out of service at the time of the fire due to maintenance problems it impacted response times. Union President Ed Smith says a combination of transfers to cover the city due to the missing trucks and another working fire caused delays. Smith believes ongoing maintenance issues for the ladder trucks are a big safety problem for firefighters and the public. Here are excerpts from the story by Tom Howell Jr:
Mr. Smith said it is unclear whether anything would have turned out differently at the Deanwood fire — ladder crews may have been able to ventilate the structure or remove security bars from the windows sooner, he noted — but it highlights the burden created by absent trucks.
Pete Piringer, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said response times to the Deanwood incident were within the acceptable range and there was no gap in service.
Union leaders said the District’s aging ladder trucks frequently go out of service, while limited reserve trucks are often in disrepair or tied up on other calls. The problem did not happen overnight, but needs to be addressed in the fiscal 2012 budget before the fire department gets further behind, Mr. Smith said.
Local 36 provided an update this evening about the two remaining members in the Burn Unit, Firefighter Chucky Ryan and Lt. Ramon Hounshell:
As of 1900 hrs. today, two of the members have been released from the Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center. The remaining two members have both been through surgery, and are recovering peacefully in their respective recovery rooms. Local 36 graciously thanks the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, for their enduring support of these members and their families from the first few moments after the incident on 48th Pl. NE., providing watchmen over the members during their hospital stays, arranging transportation to and from the Burn Center, and arranging for lodging for family members near the Burn Center – all on a voluntary basis by the members of the Foundation. The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation was formed seven years ago, by members of the DCFD who recognized a chance to support other department members during their time of need. As with many organizations focusing on the department, it's strength depends on the commitment of it's members. If you are interested in becoming a member of the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, or would like to contribute financial assistance, please visit their homepage, and contact their Board of Directors, or simply ask another member around the firehouse. Local 36 would like to express our deep gratitude to them, for readily providing the information necessary to keep our other members informed over the last 5 days, and for the enduring support they have provided for the last seven years.
On Monday, Dan Keys brought together a group of firefighters from IAFF Local 2068 in Fairfax County for a trip to the Washington Hospital Center. They came to donate blood on behalf of the five DC firefighters burned during Friday's fire in Northeast Washington. While there they received a visit from one of the Medstar Burn Unit patients, Lt. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado of Truck 13. Lt. Alvarado made this short video that Leigh Boswell shot as a thank you to the firefighters from Fairfax County. She asked me to post it to encourage others to donate blood.
Chief Ryan was able to complete 5 laps around the ICu today and is continuing to progress greatly. Due to upcoming procedures, the hospital staff has mandated that he have NO VISITORS until further notice. As soon as he is able to have vistors again we will make the information available here. Thank you to everyone again for all of your support.
We have updates from various sources on the firefighters burned Friday at a house fire in Northeast Washington. DC Fire & EMS Department spokesman Pete Piringer tells STATter911.com that all of the firefighters are making good progress, including Chuck Ryan who was critically burned. FF Warren Deavers was released from the hospital yesterday which leaves Lt. Robert Alvarado and Sgt. Ramon Hounshell in good condition at the Medstar Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. FF Theodore Douglas was treated and released on Friday.
Here is more on Chuck Ryan in a message this morning from PGFD's Mark Brady. Ryan is the chief of the Riverdale VFD:
Riverdale Volunteer Fire Chief and District of Columbia Career Fire Fighter Charles Ryan remains in “critical” but stable condition at the Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. Ryan sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns on over 40% of his body in an early Friday morning fire in northeast Washington, DC where he was working.
Even though he remains intubated, medical staff had him up taking slow and measured laps around the Intensive Care Unit of the Burn Center. Family, close personal friends and fellow firefighters have had a constant presence at the hospital. Chuck has been able to communicate via facial expressions and written/typed words. One of his very first communications was to inquire about the welfare of his crewmembers.
Whenever a firefighter, regardless of department affiliation, is injured and hospitalized in the Burn Unit, a fraternity of previous burn center patients return and help families and friends of the injured to understand the healing process. Retired PGFD Fire Lieutenant Dino Mahaffey and his wife spent time at the hospital over the weekend. The Mahaffey’s spent time with Chuck’s family and firefighters helping them to understand the healing process and to reinforce the knowledge that the Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center is the best possible place to be at this time and that burn patients have the very best physician in Dr. Marion Jordan, director of the Washington Hospital Center's Burn Unit.
Steve Lamphier, Volunteer President of the Riverdale Fire/EMS Station, stated late Sunday night, “Chuck continues to make remarkable progress, the medical staff is continuing to assess his burns and has reported some positive news.” He added, “Chuck still can not have visitors. Thanks to everyone for their continued support and thoughts.”
Medical staff will re-evaluate Ryan's condition today and possibly remove the intubutaion tube; another positive sign in the road to recovery.
Chief Ryan contniues to make great progress. He was able to complete 4 laps around the ICU today and is still intubated at this time. He is still unable to receive visitors other than family and we are hoping that sometime this week that will change. Once we receive notification, we will make that information available online.
We continue to thank all of those who have offered assistance and words of encouragement during this crisis. Please continue to keep all of these firefighters in your thoughts and prayers as they continue their road to recovery.
SUNDAY UPDATE: All of the hospitalized members are doing well. One is scheduled to be released this afternoon; two are being evaluated for possible release early next week, and even the most seriously injured member has been up walking around, and communicating with visiting members. All will have significantly lengthy recovery periods in the weeks and months ahead.
SATURDAY UPDATE: DC Firefighters Burn Foundation liaison personnel are standing watch at the Washington Hospital Center's Burn Unit, and assisting the family members of the injured firefighters. They are happy to report that the members conditions are all improving. They were also thankful for the assistance and visitation of Ret. Lt. Joe Morgan. The members are being closely overseen by Dr. Marion Jordan, and his amazing staff at the Burn Center. Local 36 has received questions regarding retired members being able to donate blood from areas other than the Washington Metro Area. When this information is known, we will pass it along to all members, so that everyone may continue to assist. Local 36 & the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation would like to thank it's members for the outpouring of support for the hospitalized members, and also extend a heartfelt thanks to the United States Park Police, the Maryland State Police Helicopter Division, the Prince Georges County MD. Fire Department, and the Montgomery County MD. Fire Dept. for their invaluable assistance during our time of need.
Below is more information on the five DC firefighters injured during a house fire early yesterday morning in Northeast Washington. Critically burned is Firefighter Charles A. "Chucky" Ryan III. Ryan, who is also the chief of the Riverdale VFD in Prince George's County, suffered second and third degree burns over 40% of his body. Below are press releases from the DC Fire & EMS Department and PGFD, along with a message from Riverdale VFD's website.
Press release from DC Fire & EMS Department:
DC FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN NORTHEAST HOUSE FIRE
Five firefighters taken to hospital, four admitted
Shortly after 12:30a on Friday, April 8th, Units from the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department were dispatched to a report of a house on fire in the 800 block 48th Pl NE. Within minutes firefighters arrived on the scene at 813 48th Place, Northeast and encountered fire showing from a one- story, wood-frame single family house. It was reported that the building was being evacuated.
Moments later additional crews arrived on the scene, including Rescue Squad 3 (RS-3 – Anacostia) whose crew began a systematic search for other occupants. While the first arriving engine crew made an aggressive attack on the fire, another engine crew protected a nearby exposure building. Within minutes a partial collapse of the roof occurred forcing heat and debris on top of the search crew. Another crew from Truck 13 (T-13 – Trinidad) recognized this and called for assistance. Firefighters activated an emergency call followed by a 'Mayday'.
Two of these firefighters self-rescued and the 3rd was assisted by the 'rapid intervention team' (RIT). A 4th firefighter was injured during the rescue and firefight.
Firefighter Charles A. Ryan III, was critically injured in the fire. Ryan is also the chief of the Riverdale VFD in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Emergency medical services personnel treated the injured firefighters. One firefighter was listed as Priority 1, serious and life-threatening, while the other three were considered Priority 2, serious & non life threatening. All have burns of varying degrees. All were transported to the Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Burn Unit. The most seriously inured firefighter is in critical condition, three others are being admitted to the Burn Unit with varying degrees of burns, while another was treated and released.
The injured firefighters are: Firefighter Warren Deavers, RS-3, Lieutenant Robert Alverado, T-13, Firefighter Ramon Hounshell, RS-3, Firefighter Charles Ryan, RS-3 and Firefighter Theodore Douglas (E-10, T-4)
The building was evacuated and defensive fire attack was initiated. Once all firefighters were accounted for an offensive fire attack was implemented and the fire was 'knocked down' within 10-15 minutes.
Neighbors indicated the house is vacant, but was sometimes occupied for one reason or another. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire Investigators believe the area of origin was to the rear interior of the house. The house suffered significant damage and is a total loss, estimated to be approximately $150,000.
DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe was on the scene and reported to the hospital along with many DC firefighters and family members. The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation is assisting and supporting the injured firefighters. Please keep the injured firefighters and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Early this morning, at approximately 1:00 am, Chief Charles A. Ryan, III was on the job at Rescue 3 in the District of Columbia (DCFD) at a house fire in the 800 block of 48th Street, NE. While performing as a member of the search team comprised of firefighters from Rescue 3 and Truck 13, Chief Ryan and 4 other members of the DCFD were injured when the roof of the single family home collapsed.
Chief Ryan is in critical condition with significant burns at the Washington Hosiptal Burn Center. Three other firefighters with varying degrees of burns were alos admited to the Burn Center. The Washington Hospital Burn Center currently seeking people to donate blood to assist with the injured firefighters. Anyone wishing to participate is encouraged to stop by the Blood Services Center at the Washington Hospital Center. Any help is greatly appreciated and we ask everyone to continue to keep Chief Ryan and the other injured members of the DCFD in your thoughts and prayers.
Chief Ryan has been a member of Riverdale for 25 years and has served as Volunteer Chief for several terms. HIs father is also a Life Member of Riverdale and a past Chief. His stepson, Anthony Anastasi, is also a member and currently serves as Tower Captain.
At this time the Burn Center is limiting visitation to family members only.
As further pertinent information becomes available it will be posted here. Please do not contact the station seeking information.
On behalf of the Riverdale Fire Department, thank you for all of the phone calls and email of support and assistance. It is much appreciated. Please keep all these firefighters in your thoughts and prayers.
Press release from PGFD:
Volunteer Fire Chief Charles "Chucky" Ryan of the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department was critically injured while battling a house fire while working as a firefighter with the District of Columbia Fire Department (DCFD) on Friday, April 8, 2011 (DCFD Press Release is below). As of this morning he remains listed in "critical" condition.
Ryan has been in the constant company of family, friends and fellow firefighters from the DCFD, PGFD and volunteer members of his Riverdale Station. He is under the very best of care with the staff of the Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. He remains listed in critical condition as he begins to recover from burns over 40% of his body.
Being a veteran firefighter, Ryan demonstrated the difference between life and death; he was described as being very deliberate in maintaining his face piece in place. A firefighters face piece provides fresh breathing air and thermal protection to their face and airway. By doing so Ryan prevented the superheated gases and toxic air from entering his airway which would have complicated and more then likely prevented a recovery of his injuries.
Medical reports and diagnosis have been favorable for Ryan's recovery. Hospital staff stated the burn injuries sustained by Chuck Ryan are "survivable," however, his path to recovery will be long and painful and at this point his stay in the Burn Unit will be measured by "weeks."
Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor has been in contact with DCFD Fire Chief Ellerbe and with the volunteer leadership at the Riverdale Station. Bashoor has extended whatever resources are needed to assist each Department through this period. Chief Bashoor has urged everyone to keep Volunteer Chief Ryan and the other injured firefighters in their thoughts and prayers through this very challenging time. With so many members of the fire service family wanting to contribute in some way, it has been recommended that a blood donation be considered. Potential donors are encouraged to contact the Blood Services Center located in the lobby of the Washington Hospital Center.
Message from IAFF Local 36: Early this morning, five members of the department experienced burns while operating on a house fire at 813 48th place North East and have subsequently been admitted to the Washington Hospital Burn Center. At this time the burn center has limited visitation to family members only to provide the for the members safety. Local 36 will provide more information as it becomes available, and we ask everyone to keep the injured brothers in your thoughts and prayers.
Also from IAFF Local 36: The Washington Hospital Burn Center is asking for volunteers to donate blood to assist with the firefighters that were injured while operating on a house fire at 813 48th Place NE Washington DC. Members wishing to participate are encouraged to stop by the Blood Services Center at the Washington Hospital Center. The center is located on the first floor of the Hospital Center to the immediate left of the main entry doors. The center is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 8 a.m. thru 4 p.m., as well as Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. thru 4 p.m. Any help is greatly appreciated and we ask everyone to continue to keep the injured members in your thoughts and prayers.
UPDATE: At 10:35 AM, during the hearing of the Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety, Council member Phil Mendelson announced the names of four of the five injured firefighters from this morning. The critically injured firefighter is Charles A. "Chucky" Ryan III of Rescue Squad 3 #2, who is also the chief of Riverdale VFD in Prince George's County, Maryland. Also injured were Firefighter Mike Deavers, Rescue Squad 3 #2, Sgt Ramon Hounshell, Rescue Squad 3 #2 and Lt. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado, Truck 13 #2. Mendelson asked for a moment of silence for the injured firefighters.
EARLIER: DC Fire & EMS Department spokesman Pete Piringer now says five firefighters were hurt, some seriously, during a two-alarm house fire at 813 48th Street, NE. The fire was reported around 12:40 this morning. Three of the firefighters were from Rescue Squad 3 and were caught in the collapse of the roof of the one story, wood frame, single family home. At 7:30 AM Piringer reported one firefighter is in critical condition with significant burns, three with varying degrees of burns have been admitted and one with moderate burns to the ears is expected to be released. All are at the Medstar Burn unit of the Washington Hospital Center.
This audio does include transmissions from another fire.
According to a preliminary account from Piringer, the first units arrived on the scene with heavy fire showing from the roof and rear of the building. The house is considered vacant but neighbors tell firefighters it is sometimes occupied. Piringer says the first arriving engine was making an aggressive interior attack while another engine was protecting an exposure. Rescue Squad 3's crew began a search for occupants. Here is more from Piringer:
Within minutes a partial collapse of the roof occurred forcing heat and debris on top of the search crew. Another crew from T-13 recognized this and called for assistance. Firefighters activated an emergency call followed by a 'Mayday'.
2 firefighters self-rescued and the 3rd was assisted by the 'rapid intervention team' (RIT). A 4th firefighter was injured during the rescue.
The building was evacuated and defensive fire attack was initiated. All firefighters were accounted for. An offensive fire attack was implemented and the fire was 'knocked down' within 10-15 minutes.
DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe was on the scene and reported to the hospital along with many DC firefighters and family members. The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation is assisting.
At 1:19 on the video above from WRC-TV you will see the charred PPE from some of the injured firefighters.
Below are the initial updates from Twitter provided by Piringer between about 1:00 to 3:00 AM:
813 48th Pl NE – 1 sty single family house – fire showing – house being evacuated. 3 hours ago
update – 48th St NE – house on fire – addl fire/ems units requested. 3 hours ago
update – 48th St NE – several injured FFs. 3 hours ago
Update – 48th St NE – roof collapse – injured firefighters 3 hours ago
2nd Alarm – 48th St NE 2 hours ago
Update – 48th St NE – 3 FFs evaluated & transported – , 1 priority 1 , 2 Priority 2 to MedStar – 1 more being evaluated 2 hours ago
Update – 813 48th St NE – house fire – fire out – total 4 FFs transported to MedStar – 1 Priority 1 serious, 3 Priority 2 1 hour ago
More recent tweets:
Update – 48th Pl NE – EMS treated & transported 1 addl FF with burns to WHC, MedStar Burn Unit – Total 5 inj (7:08 AM)
Two firefighters from Calvert County, Maryland are being treated at the Medstar Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center after a three alarm fire that began late last night. Seven other firefighters were hurt. The fire reportedly started in the chimney of the 10,000 square-foot home. Video on this page from FDVideo2008 on YouTube.
Chief 6C arrived to find smoke showing from the second floor eves of a 10,000 square foot mega-mansion. Engine 62 arrived, laying a supply line, advancing the 400′ pre-connect and began pulling the ceiling, at which time; they found fire in the attic spreading rapidly. Within seconds, conditions deteriorated significantly resulting in zero visibility and intense heat. Command immediately ordered evacuation tones. Due to high winds off the river, water supply issues, distance from the fire house, and the size of the structure (10,000 square feet), fire spread rapidly. Immediately thereafter, the second floor flashed over resulting in nine firefighters being injured, five from Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department and four from Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department. As a result of the unbearable heat, several firefighters took extreme measures such as jumping out of windows and running through walls to evacuate the structure. Chief 6A immediately ordered a Full Second Alarm with two Tankers. Later in the incident, additional units were Special Alarmed to the scene. On scene were several ambulances and medics providing care to the injured firefighters. Although units from Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, and Prince Georges were utilized, fire spread in such a rapid manner that the home is considered a total loss.
Two of the Huntingtown firefighters were seriously injured and transported by aviation to Washington Hospital Center. The other seven firefighters were transported to Calvert Memorial Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Subsequently, six of those initially transported to Calvert Memorial, two from Huntingtown and four from Prince Frederick, were transported to Baltimore Shock Trauma and Washington MedStar for follow-up evaluation and treatment for smoke inhalation. All seven firefighters have since been released.
With regards to the two firefighters air lifted to Washington Hospital Center, one of the firefighters is in stable condition with second degree burns to hands, neck, and face. He is expected to be released in two to three days. The second firefighter, the more seriously injured of the two, suffered respiratory burns, in addition to second degree burns to his hands, neck, and face regions. He is conscious and fully alert, but remains in serious condition. It is unknown at this time when he is expected to be released from Washington Hospital Center.
Eight Firefighters from Huntingtown & Prince Frederick VFD’s (Calvert County, Maryland) were forced to bail out of a 10,000 square foot single family dwelling “mega McMansion” around midnight last night. When Firefighters arrived, they had light smoke coming from the second floor but then conditions quickly turned ugly. Reports are that members were operating inside, searching for fire, of what started as a chimney fire when the conditions rapidly changed. At one point, the chimney of the house collapsed into the roof, creating a rapid rush of air into the fire area. Conditions then rapidly changed with flashover-like conditions. Additional companies from Calvert County responded following the emergency.
This fire is on the heals of a MAYDAY fire yesterday in Prince Frederick’s 1st due where there were reported FF’s missing. The FF was found and several other FF’s suffered burn injuries as well. We wish them all a rapid reocovery.
On Saturday, March 19, 2011, at approximately 11:56 pm, the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad had a report of a chimney fire on Soper Road. The first alarm was sounded on the original dispatch and shortly after the Chief Officer arrived on the scene, a second alarm was dispatched.
Every company in Calvert County (Huntingtown, Prince Frederick, Dunkirk, St. Leonard, North Beach and Solomons) was on the call now. Also, companies from Harwood, Hollywood and Benedict were on the second alarm. There were tankers not only from Calvert County, but from other multi aid counties to supply water.
At approximately 12:20 am, the evaluation alarm was sounded as the fire had reached unsafe conditions and there was the need to get firefighters out of the house.
What started as a chimney fire turned into a 3-alarm fire that destroyed a Huntingtown, MD, home.
Huntingtown Fire officials say that shortly after midnight they responded to a call for a chimney fire at a 2-million dollar home on the 3300 block of Soper Road along the Patuxent River.
Fire officials say that soon after their arrival the chimney collapsed through the second floor threatening the structure and making the situation extremely dangerous for firefighters.
Firefighters were battling not only the flames but 20 mile winds along the riverfront and the fact that there were no hydrants at that location.
Assistant Chief Michael Montgomery of the Calvert County Fire Department said that all five occupants of the house were able to escape the fire unharmed but eight volunteer firefighters were injured. Two of the firefighters were transported to Washington Hospital Center, one of them in serious condition.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
A woman and two children are dead after fire broke out at a Lorton, Virginia townhouse complex on Hagel Circle around 8:30 this morning.
At 2:30 pm Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department spokesman Dan Schmidt says that firefighters did not rescue four people via ladder from the second floor of the burning townhome as the department originally reported. Three children were lowered from a window to bystanders by an adult male who then escaped. All four are now at the Medstar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. Schmidt says their conditions are now not considered to be life-threatening.
According to Schmidt, those brought down by ladder by firefighters were the victims who died in the fire.
Schmidt says there were heavy fire conditions on Side A on both floors when firefighters arrived.