Firefighters Trapped At Maryland House Fire - Part 1

On Feb. 24, 2012, the Prince George’s County, MD, Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department (PGFD) responded to a fire in a single-family dwelling fire in Riverdale Heights. During firefighting operations, seven firefighters were injured. Some of these...


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Truck 809 Forcible Entry was too large to fit through the small window opening that he found on Side Alpha. Truck 809 Forcible Entry was unable to self-evacuate and remained trapped inside. Due to rapidly deteriorating conditions, Truck 809 Officer was forced to self-rescue through another small window on side Alpha.

After exiting the structure, Truck 809 Officer screamed to those on the exterior that a firefighter was trapped inside. Truck 809 Officer then proceeded to the front door (side Alpha) in an attempt to search for and rescue Truck 809 Forcible Entry, who was trapped inside. At this point, multiple firefighters on the exterior assisted Truck 809 Officer in the search, rescue and removal of Truck 809 Forcible Entry. Both Truck 809 Officer and Truck 809 Forcible Entry sustained serious injuries and were transported to the MedStar/Washington Hospital Level 1 Center.

While the interior operations were taking place, Truck 809 Driver and Truck 809 Hook/Ladders were on the exterior throwing ladders to the structure. Truck 809 Hook/Ladders threw two ladders (sides Alpha and Bravo) while Truck 809 Driver threw one ladder (side Alpha).

Chief 809A – Volunteer Chief 809A arrived simultaneously with Engine 807B, Truck 809 and Engine 809. Volunteer Chief 809A established “57th Avenue Command” and confirmed Engine 807B’s report of fire showing from side Bravo of the basement. Volunteer Chief 809A (now in command) assigned Rescue Squad 801 as the rapid intervention crew and assigned Truck 801 to ladder the rear of the structure and report on the conditions. Command assigned Chief 812A to Basement Division and Chief 812 to Division 1 (first floor).

Command was notified by Communications of Emergency Identifier (EI) activations from Truck 809. Command acknowledged the EIs from Communications and advised that there were “people looking for them now, looks like I got fire from three sides, we’re trying to get a line on it now.”

Engine 809 – Engine 809 was dispatched as the second-due engine and responded from quarters with Truck 809, arriving almost simultaneously with Engine 807B and Truck 809. Engine 809 stopped at a hydrant at 6325 57th Ave. to ensure Engine 807B’s water supply. Engine 809 arrived as Engine 807B was still positioning up the street on side Alpha of the structure. All personnel assigned to Engine 809, other than Engine 809 Driver, ran up the street to Engine 807B. Engine 809 personnel pulled a second crosslay (200 feet of 1¾-inch hose) from Engine 807B.

Engine 809 Officer and crew members indicated in their statements that they noticed heavy winds blowing from side Charlie to side Alpha. The crew of Engine 809 stated the wind conditions created zero visibility in the front yard and they had to mask up in the driveway before advancing their hoseline. Engine 809 Officer ordered this attack line to be deployed down side Delta, near the Delta exposure, to access the basement on side Charlie of the dwelling.

Engine 809 Officer observed access into the basement via a rear door. Engine 809 Officer attempted to contact command via radio, but was interrupted due to other radio traffic. Engine 809 Officer decided to enter the structure with the two crew members, wearing full PPE, including SCBA, to extinguish the fire in the basement. Engine 809’s personnel continued extinguishment in the basement until they heard the evacuation tones and exited the structure.

Engine 809 Officer walked back to side Alpha to do a face-to-face with the incident commander. While doing so, he noticed several injured firefighters and assisted with patient care. Engine 809 Nozzleman and Engine 809 Layout remained on side Charlie, while Engine 809 Officer was on side Alpha assisting with the EMS care of the injured personnel. Later, the remaining Engine 809 crew members (along with Engine 801 crew members) re-entered the structure from the side-Charlie basement door to finish extinguishing the remaining fire and hot spots.

Truck 801 – Truck 801 was dispatched as the second-due truck and arrived seconds behind the units from companies 807 and 809 and positioned at the corner of Sheridan Street and 57th Avenue. Truck 801 personnel proceeded to the structure. Truck 801 Driver, Truck 801 Ladders 1 and Truck 801 Ladders 2 threw four ground ladders to sides Charlie and Delta. After hearing a commotion on side Alpha, Truck 801 Forcible Entry and Truck 801 Tiller became involved in removing the incapacitated Truck 809 Forcible Entry from side Alpha of the house. Truck 801’s interior crew operated in the basement and assisted with utility control and overhaul.