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UPDATE – Must see: Mayday bailout video, pictures & audio from house fire in St. Mary’s County, MD. Two firefighters hurt.

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More from Southern Maryland News Net

Listen to fireground audio courtesy ScanMD Fire & Rescue solutions (mayday at 7:13)


UPDATE Monday afternoon

This comment was sent to from Bay District VFD Chief Shawn Downs:


I want to update everyone on both of my guys.  One FF was indeed flown to PG, however he was released around noon today.  The other FF refused trasnport on the scene, and is recovering well.  I am very thankful for the outpouring support that the Brotherhood has shown for my members.  For all of the phone calls, texts and the like, many thanks!

These two will no doubt be back on our appartus by weeks end!  Stay Safe Out There!

Shawn M Downs Fire Chief BDVFD


Video above from  at a fire yesterday in the 21000 block of Garfield Street in Great Mills, Maryland (St. Mary’s County) where two firefighters were hurt. Firefighters from Bay District, PAX River, Hollywood and Valley Lee were dispatched to the home at 4:25 PM.

Picture reprinted with permission from Click here for more images from the fire.

The bail out through a window behind the tree just to the right of the front porch occurs at about 4:50 in the video. Click through the series of still pictures at Southern Maryland News Net for a better view. The mayday is announced at 7:13 on the audio recording from ScanMD Fire & Rescue Solutions.

More info from Southern Maryland News Net:

One firefighter was transported by Trooper 7 to an area trauma center for smoke inhalation. Another firefighter was treated and released at the scene for leg injuries after falling through the floor and then having to evacuate through a window. Bay District Fire Chief, Shawn Downs said “the firefighter that was taken to PG county is expected to be released tomorrow”

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Miles Deep

    Take notes Pa. firefighters (except Philly and Pittsburgh) aggressive firefighting. Bailing out when you have to.

    • 8truck

      Hey hey. We’re an aggressive dept. I know were not perfect but we are better than the PA depts previously shown. We just haven’t had the opportunity to be shown on Statter. I’m sure our day will come.

  • Captain314

    This incident had a lot going on in a short amount of time. Kudos to the crews for hustling and getting their attack line charged quickly. Everybody seemed to be moving with a purpose and there appears to be an element of calm (I couldn’t hear any audio, so I have no idea what it sounded like).

    I must say that I’m not a fan of having just one member performing vertical ventilation. At least that’s what it looked like to me, unless I missed somebody.

    One thing I might have done differently would be to have made a quick hit on the exterior fire on the Delta side to darken that out just prior to entering the structure.

    I’m happy to hear that the two members who got injured should be OK. Again, it looked like there was discipline on the fire ground, even with a mayday and firefighters injured. It’s not the easiest thing to do.

  • DCFD

    Maybe if everyone that showed up on scene actually participated there might not have been a close call. There’s one guy standing around the glass slider playing with his gear for a while and then decides to walk around back acting like he was going to do something. Guys going in with no tools, walking around doing nothing and even coming out and taking their gear off while the fire was still burning?? Looks like there needs to be a better gameplan in the future.

  • Shawn


    I want to update everyone on both of my guys. One FF was indeed flown to PG, however he was released around noon today. The other FF refused trasnport on the scene, and is recovering well. I am very thankful for the outpouring support that the Brotherhood has shown for my members. For all of the phone calls, texts and the like, many thanks!

    These two will no doubt be back on our appartus by weeks end! Stay Safe Out There!

    Shawn M Downs
    Fire Chief BDVFD

    • Former Chief

      Chief, glad to hear your guys are OK. I’ve had people get hurt when I was Chief, that is not fun. Stay safe.

  • cappy

    That’s good news chief…. yall make it safe out there

  • Miles Deep

    I’m glad the guys are doing well.

  • commenter

    I’m glad everyone seems to have made it out OK.

    Here’s a hint for you rural FFs: You’re not the city. You don’t arrive with the same manpower as they do. They think they’re better firefighters than you are, but if you train every week, in 1 year, you’ll be better than 90% of them.

    Your tactics, however, cannot reflect what a city FD does. You don’t have the manpower. Here’s what you should be doing:

    1) Arrive and do a 360. I don’t care if you’re the only one on scene, you have to be the eyes on the beach before the marines arrive. You have to know what you’re facing, and you have to have a plan. These are legal requirements, and, if NIOSH does a report on the death of one of your firefighters, everyone will know that you did not size up the building or vocalize a plan. You may be sued or face fines. A city FD can just throw men at every side of the building and figure one of them will be right. You can’t do that.

    2) Get water on the fire to keep it from flashing, or to knock the flashover down. From the yard. Yes, from the yard. UL tests, the guys in NC doing the “Kill the Flashover” thing, Chicago, etc. all show two things: opening the door to bring a hose in increases the fire and endangers victims, and putting water from outside DOES NOT PUSH FIRE and, in fact, makes everything better. You can do this with two people, or even 1 if he’s hoofing it. Pack your attack lines in ‘bundles’, so one man can easily flake and advance the line to the side of the house with the fire.

    3) Coordinate ventilation. You’ve got an IC, a guy at the window, and a guy at the pump. Pump operator brings a ladder to the guy at the window if he needs it, otherwise, just a hook. When a line and crew is ready at the door, take all the windows in the fire compartment.

    4) Get ready to make entry. You need two guys, and probably a second handline, unless the first was easily repositioned. You’ll need to have the guy at the window stay there until you’re ready to move in. Bring a PPV fan to the front, and start it. Keep it 12-15′ away from the door. Leave it on idle. When you’re ready to enter, turn the fan in to cover the door. Wait 20 seconds. Observe conditions at the door — if fire is rolling back, you need more windows vented. Have the window-man who killed the flashover observe conditions at the vent. Once he confirms that the vent-track is in fact working, make entry with the hoseline. Ideally, you can afford a 3rd man to operate a TIC for the hose crew.

    5) put out the fire, search, do overhaul, etc.

    For a house:
    1. Incident Commander – 360 (1 minute)
    2. MPO – assist with lines, ladder, and fan
    3. FF1 – to window with line, kills the flashover, then vent fire compartment windows (at the same time as 360) – -should be flowing water within 1 minute of air brakes.
    4. FF2 – to entry with line, makes entry after 360, KTF, and PPV
    5? FF3 – enters with FF2. If only 4 FFs available, FF1 repositions to make entry.
    6? FF4 – TIC assists hose team, checks for preflashover temps, victims.

    All of perhaps 2 minutes between arrival and entry, however, conditions for living victims improves within 1 minute of arrival.

    This may seem silly to you, but it will save some lives that would be lost with ‘traditional methods’ and puts FFs at much less risk. A perfectly executed ‘aggressive interior’ attack at a well involved room and contents fire will often be delayed until ventilation can occur — the first hose may make entry earlier than in my proposal, but it will usually be delayed in advancing to the seat of the fire by zero visibility and high heat. Rarely will conditions prevent rapid water from outside, especially in rural and suburban situations.

    • DCFD

      Hahahahaha, guess Science of Fire guy is back and he brought his awesome tactics with him. I would love to meet this guy.

      • commenter

        I never left. Just changed computers & log ins.

        The idea that your tactics are awesome, but sometimes $#@! happens is intolerable. Your tactics suck for DC (See 48th st, 4th st, Cherry Rd), much less when the vollies try and emulate them out in the sticks.

        DC fails to size up the building from all sides before making entry.
        DC fails to form and state a plan before making entry.
        DC fails to establish command before making entry.
        DC fails to suppress the fire prior to making entry and ventilating the fire.
        DC fails to control ventilation of the fire prior to making entry.
        DC fails to establish an Initial Rapid Intervention Team before making entry.
        Judging from videos and radio traffic, DC often fails to charge the hoseline before making entry.
        DC trucks ventilate by breaking all the windows — which intensifies the fire, and by ventilating the roof, which generally occurs long after the fire should be out.

        DC arrives quickly and runs in with a substandard hoseline. If it’s a B-League fire, they look like geniuses – ran in, sprayed water, went home. If it’s A-league fire, they blame everybody else: WASA, Chief Ellerbe, EMS, ‘The modern fire service’, whatever.

        When Suburban and rural department try to emulate DCFEMS, they fail: they don’t arrive while the fire is B-league, and they don’t arrive with enough people to pull lines in every direction at once.

        • DCFD

          City firefighting isn’t for everyone. You’ve obviously proven that fact. Once again, hahahahahahahahaha.

          • commenter

            I’m fine with city firefighting. There are cities with great tactics. DC isn’t one of them. DCFEMS success as a fire department is based entirely on having a large and very rapid response. It is not based on having sound tactics or strategies, and has never been based on having great firefighters. DC sends 4-5 engines in the hopes that one will do it’s job.

    • Fire3Man

      You do it your way and us real firefighters will do it our way. Get a Life!

    • Fire3Man

      You do it your way (If you are even a fireman) and Us real Firefighters will do it our way.

    • Peanut Gallery

      I am a 35yr. city FF/Officer and find commenter’s remarks right on the mark. They are reasoned and practical and doable but require coordination. This requires inclusion into initial FF instruction,drill training and discipline to not go directly at a problem balls to the wall. It require FFs who can think and not just run the ball up the middle every play.

  • Pa go gettA

    The officer of the first in engine is pathetic brand new gear no hustle takes a min just to mask up only to come out tens seconds later and go in the un burned portion of the house leaving his crew by themselves. Time to hang the helmet up give that officer spot to someone that actually deserves it

  • Anonymous

    Can anyone explain to me the phenomenon of throwing the aerial to the roof of a one story home and making a bridge? Just because you drive it there does not mean you need to use it on every call… it is a tool, just like you probably carry a 16′ hook on the truck but you certainly aren’t pulling that one off on every fire. As a truck driver (especially when you are doubling as the roof man) your time can be much better served by throwing a 14′ or 16′ roof ladder up getting it done and getting off. This roof obviously needed to be opened and quick so waisting minutes jacking the truck, throwing the aerial and getting up it just to ascend all of 9 feet is a total waste… food for thought.

  • ???

    What IS it with Maryland EMS personnel flying people that walk out of the hospital hours later? Sounds like Medstar (20 minutes away) would have been just fine instead of shipping the poor guy almost 2 hours from home. The local hospital can always transfer.

    Is it a protocol issue, a training issue… or a protocol imposed because of insufficient training…?

    • ??? says reply

      Its about taking care of your own. Firemen and police officers are treated as worse case scenarios until proven otherwise. Would rather them go to the best facility and not need their level of care instead of going somewhere and transferring them to a specialty center.

      For civilians, protocol requires consult for less injured patients to fly and if ground transport is greater than 30min.

      I will agree that for civilians, there are a lot if flights that aren’t warranted. I have a hard time questioning the flights for firemen and cops, as i said earlier….take care of your own.

      • Danno

        Until the MSP aircraft augers into the deck killing everyone onboard. Oh wait, that never happens.

  • Johnny Awesome

    We will be using this video for training.

    Happy to hear the guys are ok and there is allot we will learn from this video and incident. (Good and Bad)

  • Has Been

    The two men that hustled that line to the door and immediately in the front door did one hell of a job.. It looked like the lineman ran out of air or was close to it, by his regulator being out of his facepiece. I wish them a quick recovery, and tip my hat to their persistance. That would have been a trash pile quick, had it not been for those two. Just my 21/2 cents..

  • David Pfeil Sr.

    Damn….. all you nameless heroes that are making critical remarks about your volunteer brothers should “PUT UP OR SHUT UP”…How many of you are going to be at their next drill to teach them how great you are…..I’ve witnessed first hand “great volunteers” and not so great paid firefighters… hard to criticize someone when your looking at a fire thru someones “LENS”…. NOT A SERMON….Just a thought…….

  • Cappy

    If more folks would embrace the above “commenter” suggested approach to fire suppression… many of our collective problems would be addressed in a way that served the customers and kept more brothers alive.
    Stop and think about the general approach… the big picture at many of our fires like this one…. The rigid approach that we’ve fallen into the past 20 years has done little to address needed risk management and gettin the customer out of a jamb in a sane way. His suggestions are a real solution to many of our staffing issues and operational shortcommings.
    Most of us… by and large the vast majority of us….. would be well served to stop and consider incorporating the above described approach to addressing the understaffed fireground.
    I challenge each of you to be open minded enough to reread what he is suggesting and consider it on it’s merits….. and not exhibit the typical knee jerk reaction we often have concerning simular suggestions with regards to understaffed companies operating at a fire. I dare you and some of your dept. members to at least do some informal walk throughs of this approach… just get on he apparatus floor and role play a little and ask would this work in real life…get on the dry erase board and watch the video.. think about how simple this is to pull off. Will it work in your district?? why and why not. Be open minded enough to think through some of this stuff and expect to be pleasantly surprised to discover new effective ways to do our jobs and address the customs needs. Look at the video and imagine systematically incorporating the above steps and think of the possible outcomes with an open mind. I hope you will find some fresh approaches to addressing the understaffed fireground.

    • OldSutterOne

      I agree with Cappy and “commenter” Think of an NFL Football Team. They all have a “play book” and study tapes of the opposing teams. The coaches come up with a game plan, that can be, and is, adjusted as the game proceeds. Even some of the “denser” individuals on this board could see how the terms SOP’s, and IC can be inserted. By the way you know what happens to the Coaches if they lose too often?

  • Francis Sawyer

    Ok My .02

    This Video left me with more questions then answers. Now that we know the members are all going to be OK I would love to know what caused the the following:

    1. Delay in getting water on the fire: They had a charged hoseline at 1:00 minute, however it was around the 3:00 mark that they put water on the seat of the fire, (with a great agressive interior knockdown BTW = Kudos) Its no secret that we can no longer afford to be delayed in getting the water to the seat of the fire, regardless of the “KTF” theory or not. 2 minutes of an advancing fire is 2 minutes of an advancing fire, regardless of how many engineering degrees you have or what wheel we want to re-invent.

    2. The infatuation with the sliding door on the AB corner: Reported person trapped? Peep show? I believe the 1st due engine officer was drawn to this door as well…what gives?

    3. Reason for the bailout? Looks like the boys put a helluva knock on a large body of fire, but found it necessary to bail on the line…understand that the floor was compromised as well. Wonder what happened.

    This is a phenominal training video which has many great learning points. There were a few things that were done well in this vid, and others that may be tweaked. If anyone can shed light on some of the unanswered questions, it may allow for further training/discussion and keep some of the armchair experts with all the answers sitting safely in their recliners.

    • Shawn

      I do not believe in forum arguments, however in this particular case you are asking questions and not drawing conclusions. In light of that, I will indeed answer your questions. First let me say that we conducted a critique of this fire and have already identified numerous issues with it. All of the questions you asked were part of our critique. I will begin in order.

      1. At one point in the audio you will hear me ask what the status of the wagon crew is. I watched a room with minor extension….come back over my guys heads and out the front door. What lead to this, well they had numerous obstacles in their way as they were trying to make it across the living room and down the hall. Also, the opening of the sliding glass doo helped to draw the fire back over their head. I am sorry but that is all the info I can give you until the investigation is complete. Just know that there were numerous things that needed to be moved etc.. for them to get their line in place. As far as the fire over head and coming back out the door, my guys stated that visibility was at 0 and they only felt a moderate increase in temperature. Once they made their way to the room of origin they did get a quick knock on the fire.

      2. Taking this door is inevitibly what lead to the rapid extension of fire over my guys head in the living room and hallway. However, upon arrival we were advised that the homeowner may still be inside and is normally located on that end of the house. We discussed future tactics as well as others ways of gaining access to that end of the house etc to hopefully keep similar instances from occuring.

      3. While operating in the room of origin, two guys fell throuh the floor. One was the one that was flown and the other was the one that had to bail. The one that bailed suffered burns to both arms and legs and lost his boot under the house, hence the reason he bailed. It didn’t come out until last night that all of this occured around the 3:50 mark time of the video, he didn’t make it out of the window until 6:37 I believe. That was almost three minutes where my guys never called a Mayday! I have to say that was the biggest issue in all of this to me. My guys stated that they were attempting to free the one FF that bailed and couldn’t get to their radio. We went over that in depth, why didn’t they activiate his PASS device.. etc.. there were ways of notifying Command.

      All in all there were a lot of little things that lead to this incident becomming what it did. I work on a very simple principle, everyone makes mistakes. It is the ability to learn from the misakes and not repeat them that will set you apart from the rest! There were some great things that happened on this fire, there were some bad things that happened on this fire, and there were things that were out of our control that lead to my guys getting hurt.

      I appreciate opinions, but without facts, it can be very difficult to understand what happened. I hope that this answered some of your questions.

      Stay Safe!!

      • Anonymous

        Chief, thanks for the reply and the clarification of some of the incident dynamics. You have proven the all important fact that some of these videos do not even come close to portraying the various facets that may be occuring inside of the structure or what the remaining picture holds. Thats why those of us who “get it” and have been to a few fires over the years usually will not use someone elses incident to pontificate about “what ya’ll should have done” etc. etc. until the FACTS come out from someone who was ACTUALLY THERE.

        I applaud not only your response to the questions I posed, but to your overall handeling of the post-incident analysis and the variables you had to encounter. You have assisted in making your company and those who read these replys better firemen because of it. Regardless of those in the peanut gallery choosing to bicker over sillyness and “my department is better than y’alls”, you have provided the others an unbiased and factual clarity that could not have been obtained simply from watching the video.

        Thanks Statter, keep up the good work…this $hit is what makes your site great.

        Thank you all.

  • Pedro

    Wow. The photographers and videographers of MD have great response times….

  • Jimmy

    All I wanna be is a fireman in DC or PG!

    • Fire3Man

      Go apply at DC or PG!

  • Rudedawg

    Does this area have hydrants? Because if it does, there wasn’t any supply line coming off the back of that Engine on the way in. No first-in Engines are taking a hydrant anymore. The Blind man in the third row at the theater could see the smoke rollng out. Do we think that getting there with a 1.75″ line and tank water will take care of everything? Basic lazy firefighting. Lay a line, hit it big (deck gun, blitzfire, 2.5″ line if it’s going good.) Putting the fire OUT is the objective. When we do that on youtube or Statter911, then we are doing it right.

    • Fire3Man

      The fire was put out just fine with a 1 3/4 attack line and tank water. Lazy firefighting as you call it is when you lay big hose and use a 2 1/2 or deck gun. Laying big hose and setting up a deck gun causes more burn time. Though smoke and heat did damage I would say 75% of the structure was saved.

    • Gil

      Rudedawg, why do you want them to lay out when they have a hydrant in front of the wagon. Incase you don’t know its that little yellow thing in the yard.

    • Gil

      And a blind man in the fifth row could see the hydrant across from the house on fire.

  • Fire3Man


    The reason for the bailout was the lineman fell thru the floor, when this happened his boot got stuck and when he managed to get out, the boot stayed in the floor causing his leg to start burning. He saw the window and used it as an exit point since he was in the situation with no boot on one foot and his being burned. As for the officer and the sliding door, we have history at this residence with the lone elderly tenant who stays in that end of the house (garage converted into living area). The officer was doing a quick search to see if the tenant was in her living area as she did not call 9-1-1, it was called in by neighbors across the street reported to the units from dispatch.


    Both people on scene taking photos and video lived within a mile of the incident. One is owner of and the other owns

  • Anonymous

    To the person asking “why did they fly him”, if you know the lay of the land at all, your over 50 miles to the DC border, add another 6 miles from there in DC traffic and there you go. PG is about the same distance. The MedSTAR that you refer to is St. Mary’s Hospital, which is now owned by the company MedSTAR, but is a local general hospital without trauma capabilities

  • Capt Dick

    Another fine example of how to win a trip to the burn center in 5 min. Or less!! I really would like to see all you tic depts make a new patch to be sewn to the bunker coat with the name of the trauma/ burn unit. Be great advertising and make a cool presentation come squirrel banquet! The only thing the ” bailer” should feel is lucky. And I love hearing the audio of dispatch telling the OIC of the ” bailer” that his man is out of the building being treated by EMS. That speaks LOUDER than pics or videos!! Chief hope you are setting up some educational drills when them heroes ” get back on the rigs this weekend”.

    • mdff

      Once again Dick unconstructively critical of anything not printed with the union label. Are they tics or squirrels or can they be both? Did they do anything right?

  • Anonymous

    I have read the comments about the May Day in St. Marys County.
    Specifically DCFD comments are those of predjudice and stereotype. Yes the Fire was consuming the structure and the Firefighters inside. DCFD speaks of typical IAFF influence and ignorance. Speaking of the Personnel and Apparatus there were primarily Volunteer Firefighters. Who among us can say that DCFD or any other predominately Career Staffed would have/could have done any better of an attack. Who among us can say what exactly was inside the structure that presented serious issues for the Firefighters. DCFD one can say the working House Fire on 48th Place NE where there was a May Day and Bailout of DC Firefighters. Those guys were inside doing their job looking for anyone trapped inside and putting an attack on a fast paced raging Fire. The Firefighters inside the structure were doing an equal job. There is never any excuse for anyone to criticize what,who, why,whynot,how,on scene Firefighters are conducting their Training and experience. DCFD you speak as though you are of a superior Firefighter with knowledge and experience. Yes you are Trained and in all probability have experience as a Firefighter. AS good and Professional as DC Fire and EMS is, that doesnot indicate you or anyone else is above reproach in your on scene conduct. The firefighters on the scene in carrying out their direction and mandated Training requirements also conducted themselves in the best Professional Standards. Your words seem to reflect IAFF negative words and interference. Did you stop to think the Local Fire Chief will conduct an Action Review of what occurred, what didnot happen and bring about any changes
    to ICS that maynot have been followed as it is directed to do so. Instead of your stupid words perhaps you might offer an apology and be thankful that both of these firefighters are doing well. The same applies to anyone who had thoughts and words against the DCFD Firefighters who survived 48th Place NE raging Fire. Some of those guys sustained serious Burns and injuries. “HELLO”

  • Scooter

    I guess commenter is not a DC fan and spends a lot of time behind a desk! I am glad to hear no major injuries at this job… good job running the line… right at 54 seconds. I liked the hussel of the on scene FF’s and the team work to get the 1st and 2nd line run. Be safe and strike Da Box! K

  • Fire3Man

    Rudedawg you are sick in the head! I hope your just a fire buff and not a fireman. If you look at the video when the officer is getting out the cab there is a hydrant on the right, and yes REAL Firefighters still take their own hydrant as was done at this fire by using the front intake which works real great when taking your own hydrant. Now crawl back up in your hole and STFU!

  • griefmop

    Any thoughts on how ventilation of breaking that sliding-glass window at 2:50 might have induced the flashover 10 seconds later?

  • Jimmy


    I dont think you understood me, I was telling YOU and your WANNA BE BIG CITY FIREMEN to go to DC or PG before you kill yourself in WACKERVILLE trying to be big city. It wont happen, all you’ll do is what you did Sunday. Bail out of a window head first when you could have straddled it and got out like a human being. You clowns should be in Hollywood!

  • cbj

    “big lines” waste time? I suggest some structured, repetitive training using such line will put that notion to rest. That is absurd. A “big line” can be stretched just a quickly. Obviously won’t be as mobile. That does not appear to be much of an issue here. I can say that especially as of the last couple years we have ran into more “hoarder’ – collier mansion-type conditions than we have relatively neat interiors. They certainly slow down access and progress, add to fuel loading, and make egress almost impossible. Slobs. I have to agree with some of “commentator’s” opinion. However the PPV can stay on the engine, especially in this job. Unless you have enough on the initial to stretch the first and second lines,coordinate the ventilation points, I dispute the effectiveness and even suggest it would contribute to fire spread. Just MY opinion. I do agree with using tactics, based on strategy that is realistic given your staffing and arrival time of the first 2 and 2. The smoke condition was speaking obvious clues here. The other thing I would add is simply…stay low! Go in low, stay low! That seems to be a lost concept. I offer no negative criticism here only an opinion and appreciate such video to spark conversation and NOT ridicule. Also, most of the time our driver-operator has every limb and digit engaged. Yet sometimes we would be more effective if stretched sufficient hose and not excessive hose that requires 3 people to flake it out. Pre-connected line can be both friend and foe. Instead of stretching the whole 300′ (200′) what-ever, stretch what you need, in-line with the point of entry, and avoid flaking it out to the sides of that entry. Break it and plug into a discharge when appropriate. Eliminate the excessive 100′ more than needed. Just some ideas.