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UPDATED – Fireground audio/911 call: Interview with safety officer who shared air & made rescue at Prince George’s County, MD apartment fire.

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WRC-TV:

At least nine people, including five firefighters, were injured in an apartment fire in Temple Hills Thursday night, authorities said.

“We heard a woman say, ‘Hey, it’s hot up here. Help me, help me, it’s getting hot and smoky,” Prince George’s County Fire Capt. Capt. Scott Kilpatrick said.

He climbed a ladder to her balcony. Her apartment was so filled with smoke, he could barely see her, and she was having trouble breathing. He said it was difficult to use his radio. 

WUSA-TV:

Kilpatrick was among the firefighters responding to a report of a burning apartment building. Kilpatrick heard an elderly woman’s cries, and located her inside. She became immobilized and Kilpatrick shared his own air supply with her. He says he tried to send a MayDay, and he promised the woman he would get her out. Kilpatrick said that he was determined to get out, and was thinking of his family.

Both Kilpatrick and the woman he rescued were treated at at a hospital, and both are doing fine. Kilpatrick is anticipating a long weekend, grateful to spend the time with family and loved ones.

Press release from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady:

Four occupants were rescued and five firefighters and one civilian were injured during a 2-alarm fire in Temple Hills Thursday night.  At around 10:00 pm, Thursday, August 30, Prince George’s County Firefighter/Medics were alerted to an apartment fire at 3317 Huntley Square Drive in Temple Hills.  Fire/EMS units arrived to find a fire in a terrace level apartment of a 3-story (front) 4-story (rear) garden style condominium building.

One team of firefighters started to position themselves with hose lines to initiate an attack on the fire as other firefighters went to the upper floors to search for trapped occupants.  A sudden rush of superheated air escaped from the burning apartment consuming the stairwell where firefighters were still positioning themselves.  The intense heat and smoke filled the stairwell and hallways injuring firefighters and blocking egress for those on the upper floors. 

Firefighters regrouped to advanced hose lines into the burning apartment, as firefighters performing search and rescue on the upper floors were forced to shelter-in place with four occupants, found during the search, unable to escape via the stairwell. 

One firefighter located an adult female occupant in the apartment directly above the unit on fire.  She had sustained burns to her lower extremities and her apartment was charged with thick toxic smoke.  Unable to escape via the stairwell he sheltered-in-place and called for help on his radio.  The firefighter removed his face piece that provides him fresh breathing air and placed in on the face of the female.  The firefighter radioed his position to incident commanders and requested immediate assistance.  The firefighter and the female then took turns taking breaths of fresh air from the face piece.  A few moments later the firefighter radioed that his air was running low just as other firefighters arrived to assist him and the female out of the apartment.  The female was transported to the Burn Unit and has been admitted.   The firefighter was transported to a local hospital where he was admitted overnight for treatment of heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.  He has since been released this morning.  Both are expected to fully recover. 

Three other occupants were removed from the building by firefighters from their upper floor apartments.  There were no injuries to these occupants or firefighters during the rescues. 

There were four firefighters that sustained minor burn injuries from the rush of superheated air while in the stairwell.  They were transported to the Burn Unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.  They were all treated and released last night. 

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

During the height of the incident with firefighters sustaining injuries and numerous rescues in progress, incident commanders requested a Second Alarm and additional EMS resources to the scene.  There were about 65 personnel operating on the scene.

The fire in the terrace apartment was extinguished within 20 minutes.  Fire Investigators determined the cause of the fire was “accidental” and attributed to unattended cooking.  Fire loss is estimated at $25,000.  Cooking, most notably unattended cooking, is the leading cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince Georges County and throughout the Country.

There were 7 condominium units that were declared uninhabitable.  12 adults and 4 children occupy those 7 units.  They were assisted on the scene by the County Citizen Services Unit and declined Red Cross assistance, as they will make their own temporary living arrangements.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • PGVOL

    Excellent work on the save, but why was the safety officer by himself inside the building? Just wondering….

    • Pgtruckie

      Because there were rescues to be made ??? Your not always going to have 2 in 2 out. Sometimes it’s by yourself

  • PGVOL

    Pgtruckie – So little time that you couldn’t report to someone, right? That’s how fatalities happen.

  • Was a dispatcher

    Time wasted getting info on the 911 call. ‘ 911, where is your emergency? 123 Main St in Anytown. What is your Emergency/ My house is on fire. Get everyone out. 911 wastes precious time getting bullshit information when units can be dispatched with the first two questions asked. SECONDS COUNT IN THIS BUSINESS.

  • CuriousReader

    Something i gotta say about this is good for the guy he saved a life. But what about the multiple volunteers that pulled out occupants, where were their interviews. I think if your going to interview one guy you should interview them all. And PGTRUCKIE the safety officers job is to supervise the safety of all personel inside…not to get in a mayday himself. And its not a question of 2in2out initially on the scene there were 3 sqauds, 5 engines and 2 trucks with a total staffing of 34 personnel and only one unit understaffed with 3 of 4 personnel.
    Im Just Sayin

  • Scooter

    Risk a little to save a little…. risk a lot to save a lot…. enough said…. Strike Da Box ! K

    • J.A.R

      Sums it all up

  • capthoco

    Have no idea of the specifics of this fire and access. Based on the story it sounds like once the fire apartment door was open it trapped firefighters and occupants. A tactical consideration in garden apartments is to access the first floor fire apartment from a exterior door like a rear slider to keep the stairwell door secure for occupants and firefighters egress.

    • Anonymous

      When I read this story I couldn’t help but thinking that alot of these circumstances mimicked the Baltimore County Fire that killed Mark Falkenhan last year. Fire in a terrace level apartment, unit door is opened or failed, stairwell becomes untennable, firefighters stuck above the fire……
      When are we going to learn???

  • Anonymous

    It would seem a real Professional job well done by all. Some of the comments were focused on why,whynot, when,who, etc. PG Vol. and Pgtruckie come on man both of you know sometimes an on scene fireground presents any number of challenges. First and foremost The Safety Officer did in fact put the Lady’s Life first. He demonstrated real Fire and EMS Dedication. Also the other on scene personnel Career and Volunteer alike did what can be only described as an out standing job in effecting Rescues of other occupants. The comments about 911 delaying a call, as a former Dispatcher, you should already know that any CAD System once the Basic Body of Knowledge/Information received the call is sent over to the Radio Queue for immediate Dispatch. Asking other Relevant questions, like is there anyone else in your apartment that needs help, also are there any children who maynot/cannot realize the Fire emergency, and the 911 caller speaks in a scared emotional voice she is scared and doesnot know what to do. Keeping this Lady on line seems a good professional Gesture to help ease her
    already frightened self. What if the 911 caller provides addidional information she is a Cardiac Patient and her Chest is starting to hurt. Come on now, you know better that that. The 911 ncall Taker wasnot the only one person on duty. By handling a 911 caller to help ease an already stressful scared situation just may have saved that person’s Life. The responding Fire and EMS apparatus and Command Personnel were only minuetes from the scene. As for the Safety Officer inside by himself, his job is to ensure Safety for Firefighters who arrived on the scene. He was in all probability inside to check
    for anyone or any TEAM of Firefighters who may be unconscious and he was attempting to locate them, hopefully by the sound of their Pass Devices. Come on people get it together now. Bottom Line no one injured, no loss of Life. “Everyone Goes Home”

    • E4

      “The Safety Officer did in fact put the Lady’s Life first. He demonstrated real Fire and EMS Dedication”…Dedication? By removing his mask? Please tell me you would NOT do the same.

  • JustSayin”

    While I’m sure in his mind the situation required a “Career-Guy” to get the job done.

    Question.???
    Who did HIS Job when he abandoned HIS Post.???

    Question.??
    Isn’t one of the tasks of the Safety Officer to prevent dangerous, freelancing, “Lone-Ranger” type fire ground stunts which can endanger others.???

    Question.??
    Did he just prove that the Safety Officer Position in not needed and thus can be eliminated??

  • Sick of the Trolls

    This is why they call you guys Ticks! If this had been a firefighter from the FDNY or Detroit, you guys would be beating off to it and breaking your arms giving him pats on the back. A Fire Captain performed an act of Valor that should make your department and the Fire Service Proud. He was calm on the radio, relayed his information to command in a clear manner, and risked his safety to save a citizen. But all you Trolls can do is sit at your computers and cry about how “the volunteers didn’t get interviewed”, “He’s anti-volunteer”, “He was reckless and freelancing”, “We should eliminate his position.” Get a life and quit your whining about not getting enough credit for your actions. Career or volunteer, just do your job and shut up. If you’re doing this Job to get accolades, medals, or a t-shirt, then you are the one who should be eliminated.

    • Anonymous

      Well said!! It aggravates me to read some of these comments.

    • PGVOL

      Well said Paid Maid! Keep that ambo on the streets for us all as you clearly missed what was being said.

      • You are the Problem.

        Keeping sending out those donation requests to the citizens, and keep beating your chest about what a proud volunteer firefigther you are and how you are better than the “Paid Maids” because you “don’t do it for a pay check.” All while you refuse to provide the service most requested by the citizens; which is clearly evident from your comment.
        There are plenty of other combination departments in your area and the Country that don’t have half the problems that you yahoos in PG County have. Keep telling yourselves that you’re bad@$$ volunteers because of your call volume, and we’ll keep laughing at you and the circus like antiques that continue to pour out of your county because of people like you, paid and volunteer.

      • PGDAYCARE

        “Paid Maid”…such a funny “insult.” I would think this is more insulting for the volunteers. I mean if you guys could get your $h!t together and stop using your firehouses as Youth Hostels and Homeless Shelters, the county wouldn’t have to hire “Paid Maids” to come in and keep the places clean, maintain “your equipment”, and run your calls for you…EMS and Fire runs.
        So you keep wearing your “100% Volunteer” T-shirts while you stroll around the firehouse at 15:00hrs in your pj’s complaining about how the “Paid Maids” are such loads because they didn’t wash your dishes for you or use the right brushes to polish your fire trucks, and i’ll keep collecting my very nice pay check to come into your firehouse so the county can make sure that you don’t run their investment into the ground.

    • Capt Dick

      Hey guess what…. The IC is the safety officer, the CO is the safety officer, and most of all YOU are the safety officer! This is clearly another overblown volley vs paid PG County hero job and most of us are not impressed. Glorified kitchen fire with some poor tactics as stated referencing the Baltimore incident. 5 to the burn unit? Some will never learn.

  • Pingback: It’s All About Me « Backwards And Stupid

  • Commenter

    PG tactics are antiquated. 9 to 1, entry into the fire apartment caused the burns. Should’ve “reset” the fire from outside before rapidly controlling ventilation and performing an aggressive, Positive Pressure Attack.

    It’s not Monday morning quarterbacking. It’s pointing out the known deficiencies in a public agencies operations.

  • Anonymous

    Ok enough of the sarcasim disgusting remarks. Just sayin, Sick of the Trolls, One of the Anonymous, PG VOL. Says. What is wrong with you people. One comment that is why you all (Volunteers) are called Ticks, one comment “A Career Guy did the job, one comment PG Fire and EMs Tactics are antiquated. Yes there were probably some either mistakes, or not real good decisions made. Bottom Line the reference to FDNY and Detroit Fire Depts how stupid of a comment is that. First of all both of these large city Municipalities are Total Paid Depts. They have their misgivens just like everyone else. You maynot read about it. PG Fire and EMS is a combination System. Like it or
    quit. Some of those comments are spoken from IAFF Worshipers. Being Loyal to one’s Union is fine. It should be reminded to all that Training is available and Mandated for everyone, either through PGFD Training Academy and MFRI. The comment from PG Vol Says, is totally out of line and disgusting to say the least. Referring to Career personnel as Paid Maids. Where have you been. The Fire Incident in question was pretty much Managed in a Safe Professional Manner. Yes the Safety Officer was inside. He chose to do what he determined the right thing to do in order to Effect Rescues and put out the Fire without Injuries both to Civilians and Firefighters. No he didnot abandon Safety Officer Responsibility. He obviously was aware of the Staffing Dfficulties PG Fire and EMS has endured in recent years. I am inclined to believe there were other Command Officers on the scene, who could Manage Safety Officer and/or Incident Command Duties. Come on people pointing fingers, speaking with Bias predjudice against one another is not the Professional way. I am quite sure Fire Chief Bashoor will undertake and Mandate an “After Action Review” of what occurred, what didnot, what could be considered wrong and the like. The bottom line here “ACCOUNTABILITY” is paramount and Top Priority by everyone.

  • Reader

    Who saved them ? He was calling for help, does anyone know who save them ?

  • Anonymous

    Who cares who saved who! No one is going to a funeral because of this incident. That is a win for all.

  • drivintheseagrave

    Yes. The engine company assigned to the second floor from the rear found them at about the same time as one of the truck companies on scene.

    Commenter, have you been to PG County? How many fires have you been to in the last month. I doubt it is as many as we do in PG. Before you suggest tactics from behind your keyboard, maybe you should know more about the staffing levels, building construction, fire behavior, tactics and experience of personnel on scene of this incident.

    All, while separating this into career vs volunteer is inappropriate, credit should indeed be given to the firefighters who found the safety officer and the victim. Because, if not for them, we might be attending a LODD funeral.

    As for whether the safety officer should be inside, we’ll determine that at the post-incident critique. For those who want to critique the incident, show up to that. Otherwise, shut up.

  • HEARDITBEFORE

    Too bad the Capt isnt the one that found her, sounds an awful like Booker Drive 15 years ago

  • Chief72

    another paid announcement by local 1619