Burned Maryland Firefighter Released From Hospital

A Prince George's County firefighter was released from the hospital Friday, exactly 55 days after he was badly burned while battling a house fire in Riverdale.

Sgt. Kevin O'Toole will begin the next phase of his recovery as on outpatient for the next several months, according to a department news release.

The 21-year-old firefighter responded to the Feb. 24 blaze in the 6400 block of 57th Avenue that has since been determined to be the work of an arsonist.

Six other firefighters also were injured along with O'Toole when a burst of flames occurred on the first floor of the home due to a combination of high winds and open doors.

All of the other firefighters were had been released from the hospital just days after the fire occurred, but O'Toole's injuries were the most severe, as he sustained second- and third-degree burns to close to 50 percent of his body.

A large crowd gathered at the Burn Unit of Medstar Washington Hospital as he was released Friday afternoon and he went outside for what he says was the first time since he was admitted.

He slowly walked over to his parents, Jeff and Jane, and was greeted by fellow firefighters as they stood by Truck 809 -- which he rode to the fire in -- as he made his way to the microphone.

"I feel pretty good," he told the crowd. "It's a pretty big accomplishment for being so badly injured to be walking out of here in two months. It's a great privilege to walk out and see everybody."

In all, he has undergone 10 surgeries.

"I'm going home, going to be an outpatient at a facility for burn patients and take it from there," he said. "Every day is a good day."

He boarded the front seat of Truck 809 and he was met at the station by his fellow firefighters and firefighters from surrounding station.

He will be traveling with his parents on Saturday morning to their home in Bethpage, N.Y. where he will continue his treatment and physical therapy.