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Raw video & radio traffic: PGFD two-alarm house fire with three firefighters burned.

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Video above and below from Ed Lehan, Kentland VFD (HD version on Ed’s Facebook page) and posted to YouTube by Firefighters Worldwide taken at a two-alarm house fire Saturday morning in the District Heights area that left three firefighters with burns. Details on the fire are below.

Earlier this morning, several members from Prince George’s County (MD) Fire/EMS Company 826 (District Heights) were injured while operating at a working house fire at 2908 Walters Lane. Captain Sarge Bauer sustained the most significant injuries and was transported to the Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. He is currently sedated and intubated with burns to his airway. However, he has been scoped and the doctors feel that the prognosis is good. PGFD Command staff and Leadership from PGFD IAFF Local 1619 are at the Burn Center and are insuring a 24 hour watch and assistance for FF Bauer and his family.

Mark Brady, Chief Spokesman PGFD (click here for Ed Lehan’s photos):

At about 7:45 am, Saturday, November 9, firefighters were alerted to a house fire in the 2900 block of Walters Lane in Forestville. Firefighters from District Heights Engine 826 were the first to arrive to find a 2-story Cape Cod with a large 2-story attached addition with heavy smoke showing from the rear of the 4200 square foot structure. Firefighters initiated an aggressive interior attack and search of the structure. Conditions on the interior started to deteriorate rapidly with fire and high heat quickly intensifying. The fire spread rapidly throughout and consumed the attached addition.

At that point, all firefighters were ordered to evacuate the structure and knock down heavy fire conditions now visible from just about every window of the addition. A portion of the fire was extinguished from the safety of exterior positions before firefighters re-entered the structure to continue the fire fight and complete searches.

MD PG Distirct Heights second alarm 2

The fire continued to extend through void spaces in the basement and upper floors eventually making it’s way to the 2-story Cape Cod original home. The original structure was constructed in the 1940’s.

The bulk of the fire was eventually knocked down about 2 hours after arrival. The fire was completely extinguished about an hour after that. Extensive overhaul was required to ensure the fire was extinguished. A Second Alarm was sounded bring nearly 100 firefighters, civilian support staff and incident commanders on over 25 pieces of fire and EMS apparatus.

Three occupants escaped the home prior to the Fire Departments arrival. One occupant, an adult female, 80ish years of age, was transported to an area hospital as a precaution.

Three firefighters, all part of the first arriving crew, sustained burn injuries to the upper body. Two were treated and released with burn injuries to wrists, arms and ears. The third firefighter was admitted for observation of possible airway injuries. All three firefighters were transported to the Burn Unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire loss estimates are still being tabulated.

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MD PG Distirct Heights second alarm


Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    “Hey Donny, you gotta bust out all the windows up top so we can make sure we burn the whole house down quicker.”

    • Anonymous

      Yea that comment was completely stupid, the last thing that fire needed was more ventilation, it needed large caliber hand lines from the exterior and then transition them to the interior on multiple floors. Take all those guys walking around looking confused and put two 2 1/2s in service and that fire would have gone out like that!

      I know PG is a fire factory but dudes walking around with there suspenders off there shoulders, no helmets, just looked overall sloppy not what I would expect form guys who go to a lot of fires.

      No doubt it was a good fire but could have been overcome easily with the right tactics, its ok to hoot water from the outside on one like that THEN go in.

  • Anonymous

    Any details on how he sustained airway burns?

  • FLFF

    Ladders, ladders everywhere but not a flowing hoseline in sight. Well there was… for a time. They even mentioned it on the radio.

    And I want the concession on scrap melted aluminum ladders.

  • OldCityCaptain

    When I was a young professional firefighter…the old guys taught me a very important lesson….if you put the fire out, it all gets better!!!! Now that I am an old professional firefighter…..the same theory still applies!!!!! I saw alot of guys walking laps around this house (with their “cool guy” smoke stained helmets).. doing NOTHING! Throwing ladders is important, but if all they do is get burned up because you didn’t stretch enough hoses….then you have done no good at all.
    I hope for a speedy recovery for those injured…

  • Monday Morning QB

    I don’t know what occurred there but what I do know is allowing a fire to free burn like that only makes matters worse. Maybe they were hesitant to do an exterior knockdown due to having FD members on the interior. Not sure, but that fire intensified to the degree that interior conditions would have been intolerable anyways. Maybe that is what happened.

  • Anonymous

    The comments speak of some words with predjudice and unwarranted comments out of line.

    (1) To Anonymous your comments are an absolute and shameful
    display of not knowing how,why,who,when, how the
    Firefighters were doing their job. “Breaking all the
    windows to burn down the house quicker”. Grow up.
    Obviously looking at the video and the news, these
    Professionals were inside,searching for people that may be
    still inside. The structure has been noted as being built
    in the 1940s. With an addition being constructed, who can
    Truthfully say with any reasonable certainity Was the
    Integrity of the structure compromised through Fire
    Spread. The Fire looking at the video was well advanced.
    Those guys went inside as a Team, and extricated
    themselves together. Unfortunately as the scene shows the
    Fire was intense enough that Safety was the priority. The
    Captain with those guys suffered serious airway burns.
    Breaking any windows was so to allow immediate
    ventilation. Anonymous I am going to give you the benefit
    of the doubt. I can only presume you are an experienced
    Firefighter who knows or I should say/believe you should
    know with a Fire burning as intense as it was shown,
    those guys did whar was an immediate Fire Ground decision.
    Anonymous do you know/ can you say what the interior of
    that structure was like? ie; could have been materials
    with Toxic extracing which created an unhealthy and
    unsafe conditions for Firefighters and civilians.
    Come on Anonymous speak with Professional Fire Service

    Have a Nice Day

    • Just another firefighter

      Sounds like you were there, so this should make visual sense to you. If the search team had been between the fire and the stairs, breaking the second story windows would have taken all of that heat right by them and up the stairs. They would have had no chance… Uncoordinated ventilation is never a good thing.
      As far as the video, They had a ladder at every window but only one line? No helmet walking under dripping siding? Personally, safety is a matter of practicality and purpose. If it’s the chief at the board, who cares. The vollies last week getting too close on the garage fire, just stay back and toss water until the guys in gear show up. Walking under liquified plastics, wow-think of the facial burns. (1) 1-3/4 in each window and that fire is dark in a hurry. They had plenty of people.
      Have a hot and smoky day… The fun kind of day… and stay safe.

    • Mark too

      And your comments speak to being defensive and unable to be objective.

      The only thing obvious in these two videos is a poor fireground performance.

      If there were crews inside searching for victims, then why is it so painfully obvious that no water was being applied from the inside to protect that search effort?

      If there weren’t crews inside, then why is there no effort to attack the fire from the outside?

      Why do we have multiple ground ladders being exposed to direct flame?

      Why do we have so many in firefighter outfits walking around doing NOTHING?

    • Anonymous #1

      I suggest you take the Fireflow and Ventilation seminar next time it rolls around. Taking out those windows with that much fire below would have been deadly for anyone upstairs.

      The fire would have flowed up the stairs and/or auto exposed from the fire blowing out the windows below.

  • Chief Ura Nutz

    Looks like one big cluster F???. More white hats the black. were is the water. Very poor tactics. This is called get lines in place and surround and drown.

  • WOW

    I truely believe, the neighbors with gardens hoses, could have put up a better firefight then this…….

  • WOW

    A Second Alarm was sounded bring nearly 100 firefighters, civilian support staff and incident commanders on over 25 pieces of fire and EMS apparatus.

    ONE HUNDRED firefighters to make damn sure there was NOTHING left to burn?
    25 pieces of equipment, for, a structure fire?


  • TheGunny

    Where’s the Kentland Motormouth? oh yeah this is his area. Call SOMEONE ELSE

  • Met Fan

    Unfortunatly there are still many who believe ventilation is going to improve conditions for those searching. Test after test and real fire video after real fire video shows that if we don’t get water on the seat of the fire that ventilation is going to make things worse and it’s going to go bad fast. I’m not saying never ventilate-just time it. I guess being in the engine is not cool enough and everyone needs to do truck work.

  • Anonymous

    In reading the comments there seems to be a focus upon not viewing any hose Lines. Anyone with Fire Service experience/knowledge should already know there were Charged Hose Lines in Place. As far as criticism about 2nd Alarm additional, Staffing/Apparatus. Stop and think a minute. Who can say there were sufficient staffing? The Injured Firefighters pretty much depleated the first due Engine Staffing. Who among us can say what was the Staffing on the other Responding Apparatus? The 2nd Alarm was sounded to bring more personnel and Apparatus to ensure each entity on the Fire Ground was staffed. ie; Interior,Operations,Safety, Rehab and any other category deemed necessary by the Incident Commander. Just for the Record BFC 883 is Stationed at Station 826. I believe it is safe to presume The BFC was on the scene immediately with Engine 826. Second Guessing criticism and just plain vile words without the facts are nothing more than
    opinions of those who think their experience is such that anything done there was incorrect. Who knows, who can say,
    with any degree of certainty what occurred how,why, who, when why, whynot any Decision that was made was not proper.

    Come on people, each one of you is supposed to be Fire Serviced oriented with some degree of Professionalism.
    “Get it together now”

  • Thatguy

    Just so everyone is clear, My comapny was first due truck on this fire and when they arrived all they had was heavy smoke pushing from the addition with a report of people still trapped inside but what hampered suppression efforts was the small hallway between the Cape Cod style home and new addition which created a bottle neck situation and once inside the addition it was found to have been made into something you might find in an apartment house basically making the addition an unsafe maze and by the time crews found the source of the fire it had already gotten to extreme conditions inside and after about 5 to 7 mins trying to aggressively fight the fire it pushed crews back which in turn left the first engine company with burns.

    So quit the monday morning quarterbacking and do some research…. It’s not hard to find multiple links and background on this fire or any fire for that matter it’s the 21st century and everyone is up everybody’s ass so you’ll find the truth in no time!

    • Fire21

      But please explain the ladders being left to melt/burn, and the visually obvious lack of attempts to suppress the fire. Was there activity that we can’t see? If so, it sure wasn’t having any effect on the fire we could see. Granted, we are seeing only 2 sides, so we might be missing good stuff on the other 2 sides.

  • funny

    everone was so quick to jump to conclusions based on NIST studies, fire venting from a window and 4 minutes of video. wa wa waaaaaa, funny how after an explanation everything is clear. except for the guy who couldn’t find his helmet and the ladders being burnt up. but still funny

  • PA FF

    So numerous things that could have been done differently, mistakes plainly made like not wearing a helmet, firefighters injured and people making assessments of a scene without all the details or a full view of the scene. People who were on scene then explaining what we didn’t see and defending their actions. This must have been a PA fire or a rural area down South, nope it’s PGFD the great and powerful.

    My only point to all of that is we all make mistakes, shit happens especially in the heat of a fire. Hopefully this incident will be critqued and lessons will be learned. Also hopefully the firefighters will be fine shortly. Just remember people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  • David S.

    Wake up and listen to That Guy , he was there and all of the other people commenting on this site were not so listen to what people are saying then your comments might change. After resp[onding to thousands of workers not one is the same you learn something new each and every time .I hope that these 3 ffs recover quickly.

    • Mark too

      He may have been there, but he really didn’t clear up anything regarding most of the comments on what is seen on the video.

      He states that interior crews were pulling out after about 5-7 minutes. The first video opens with multiple ground ladders already in place and heavy fire venting. The second video looks to be events after the first video ended. To me this says that there’s a pretty strong likelihood that nobody was operating inside the area with fire showing during the whole video. Unless he’s mistaken on the timeline, why isn’t there any evidence of fire attack in this part of the building?

      Maybe he could have actually explained why we watched around 7 minutes of video showing heavy volumes of fire venting from a building with no signs of an interior attack on the fire and the only thing we saw was a couple guys carrying more ground ladders into the area and a bunch of guys walking around?

      Maybe he could have explained what was happening on the other 2 sides of the fire that made doing nothing on these 2 sides of the fire the appropriate course of action?

  • John J

    Where is Mr. Volunteer Fire Life. Can’t wait for him to tell us how he did the deed and his dept put the fire out. How they saved the day. Come on man tell us volunteers how it was done.

    • TheGunny

      His silence is deafening.

  • Just an Assistant Chief

    Always amazing to me that we call being in the firefighting service…a brotherhood….sure brothers are the first to point out your short comings…or to offer some sound advice as to how you are doing something….but they are also the first to have your back when things go wrong…secondly…have you ever just had a bad day??? Where either at home or work, nothing you do seems to go just right??? If you can say never…your not human…I’ve been on a few fires in 34 years of volunteer service…some went just like clockwork and everything seemed to fall into place…Then there were others….leave it at that….Read the whole transcript says the fire eventually got into the original house…which I am taking as the other side from the video camera… They may have been trying hard to keep it contained to the addition…No one asked what the water supply was either…they may have been using most of the available to do a attack on the front of the house….seems reasonable…as the addition from what I’m seeing was a total loss as it was…Or what about exposures? Would you not use a good amount of your available water to keep them from being another part of your problem?
    Wishing all injured a speedy recovery and a full return to service. Also wishing all who are quick to condemn fellow “brothers” that this scene is never filmed on their watch…so others can second guess and find fault with their actions.

  • MikeV.

    Shame on all of you Monday Morning quarter backing Losers! Your true colors show. Instead of passing along your wishes of a speedy recovery to the injured firefighters you pass judgment on a side “C/D” video which only takes into account a small excerpt of the entire operation. It seems like only the jaded post here. Get over yourselves and your petty little lives and try to act like mature adults. I wasn’t there and I’m not passing judgement on the tiny video clips we all saw. Yes, we saw multiple gear issues and some poorly thrown ladders. Did someone commenting see a video of every side of the building from the beginning to the end of the incident? If so, please post a link to the ENTIRE incident. If not, do us all a favor and go find a hobby that doesn’t involve making uneducated posts.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to those injured fighting this house fire!

  • Anonymouas per protocs

    OK Enough Said Already; I have read all the comments and thus far only speculating what didnot occur, how wrong the Fire Ground Operations were. I did notice only a couple of comments with a line or two about concern over the condidition of the Injured Firefighters. Did it ever occur to any of you self spoken experts that only the Firefighters inside that structure really know exactly what the interior of the House was Like. Yes it was a Heavily involved Fire with Intense conditions. One can only believe that the crew of First Due Engine (E826) were inside to search for, people, and hopefully
    the origin of the Fire. Now having viewed the ladders from the video and the Local TV News, Ladders were raised to ensure a
    means of egress for Firefighters. Just thinking the Flames and Heavy Smoke Conditions, were there any Flammable Liguids inside any Materials with Toxic residue escaping into Fire atmosphere. All the expert opinions without Facts seem to be the way to find out what may have occurred. (1) I am quite sure
    the County Fire Chief (Chief Bashoor) will conduct an after action Independent Review of what happened. (2) I am of the
    definite belief the SOP’s and the “Incident Command System” (ICS) was in fact established. Right now I would like to believe, that at least some real concern and positive comments
    be brought forward to speak about the hope for speedy recovery
    for those Firefighters who were in harms way with their Life.
    “To Captain Bauer. I sincerely Hope and Pray for your speedy Recovery. Ie; Captain Bauer is in Med Star Burn Unit with Airway Burns. To the other two Brave Firefighters I am especially Happy your Injuries werenot as serious as the Captain’s. I personally wish each one of you, best wishes for a
    quick return to duty. “Live to Work another Day”.

  • Mark too

    The fact that not everybody chose to publicly express concern and well wishes for those injured on this specific site for the most part means nothing. Maybe some have expressed those sentiments on another site, maybe they have said a quite prayer for their recovery. Regardless, the lack of doing so doesn’t automatically mean that a person has no concern for those injured.

    What some are seeing as MMQBing and comments bashing the operation, I’m seeing, for the most part, as comments that all seem to be asking questions about the operations, whether specifically doing so or not.

    Why does there appear to be no signs of attack on the fire visible in the videos?

    Why are they burning up ladders?

    Why are so many just walking around, appearing to be doing little to nothing?

    Why are people in harm’s way without appropriate PPE for what they are doing?

    What’s going on that we can’t see that is causing the inaction that we can see?

    The couple of people who have commented that appear to have been there or are close to the incident haven’t offered up anything that really answers any of these questions.

    This is a fire department that sees a lot of fires and supposedly prides itself on how well they fight those fires, but this video is not showing a well run operation so people are asking why that seems to be the case.

    Sorry if that offends you.

  • Anonymous

    Some videos shouldn’t be posted. I would remove that real quick. Enough said

  • PG Wheel Boss

    For those of you concerned about the well being of the ground ladders- they are currently being cleaned and prepared for testing. They are expected to make a full recovery and will be back in service shortly. The PGFD appreciates your concern.

    It’s laughable to see anyone question the placement of ground ladders at a house fire as they are intended to be used. They are there for OUR safety primarily in case we need to make a quick exit. So what if they take a little bit of heat. Better to have them in place if needed and replace them later than not have them there at all. They have heat sensors on them just for this reason.

    And some of you may be confused as to why you can’t see anyone taking part in interior firefighting operations. That’s because the cameraman is outside the house on one corner, and the firemen are inside.

    Also, this house is a building construction nightmare. It is a cape cod attached to a massive addition in the rear, totalling 4200 square feet. Just because a room or two are free burning in the video does not mean that there isn’t an engine company making a push from the other side of the house and crews searching the floor above. The ground ladders are there to protect these crews.

    Here’s a link to the full story with pictures of the house the internet warriors to further analyze:

    • Mark too

      It really isn’t laughable as you say. If you were paying attention to the comments regarding the ladders, nobody was questioning the ladders being thrown (as they were already in place when the video starts). They were questioning the practice of leaving a ladder in place while being exposed to direct flame contact. The one was thrown to a first floor window. Did it really need to stay there?

      Yes, it is best to have ladders in place in case you need them, but what’s the likelihood of somebody actually using a ladder over a window venting fire like shown in this video? Some of the ladders visible weren’t even thrown to the windows.

      We weren’t exactly confused by cameraman’s position. Some of us acknowledged the limited view and asked about what was going on that we couldn’t see to help explain why there didn’t appear to be any water being applied to the fire we could see. By the way, we could see several firefighters from the cameraman’s angle, but they didn’t seem to be doing much fire fighting.

      You appear to be following the same path as a couple others that have already posted. You complain about the comments and are kind of condescending about it, but aren’t providing any actual answers to the questions being asked about the operation.

    • Just another firefighter

      Well said Mark too,
      It is understandable that with interior operations, exterior hand lines would not be flowing. However, the progression of this fire is obviously moving toward an exterior attack, so get the lines in place. If I’m inside and all goes wrong, what exterior operations are taking place to better my chance of survival? Ladders to 1st floor windows? Obviously there were several apparatus on scene to haul the manpower and ladders. Pull multiple hand lines to flow maximum water at a moments notice. Imagine dumping an above ground pool into those 2-3 rooms in less than 6 minutes.

      Most troubling though, is the lack of acceptance of the comments. The rebuttals are justifications for the fireground actions instead of a learning attitude. Indiscriminately taking out windows is a horrible idea. Calling in 100 FF’s for a house fire is a bad practice. What happened to the remaining area’s coverage. If coverage was not effected, they have too much equipment and FF’s for the area. If SOP’s are throw a ladder and watch… Change the SOP’s. Just because IC was established doesn’t mean that good practices are being followed. We have all witnessed bad IC.

      At some point you have to look at the result. If there were a room or two burning, the scene time and requirements should have been much less.

      Speedy recovery to those injured, and more importantly, lessons for us all to learn from.

    • TheGunny

      Throttle back boss. You have some of your brothers (Kentland specifically) hitting this site and heaping massive criticism upon the rest of the brothers out there, instead of taking learning points (reading the smoke, building construction).

      I did see the add-on and wonder who the City Engineer/planner is who approved that mess. I am glad the crew made it out, and that the Capt is doing well.

  • Jeff

    30 seconds of water on couple of these windows from the exterior with a 185 gpm smooth bore would have been a good call. Putting water on fire is never a bad call, study the science and research, watch videos on this site and others and see it for yourself. It’s all about knocking the horse power out of these well advanced fires so that an aggressive interior attack and primary can be initiated. We cannot help save Mrs Smith or her property by always going interior first, sometimes we need to knock them down from the exterior with smooth bores and get in and finish them off.

    • norcal

      Awesome, science can tell us what we know. If you read an above post, it was said they had heavy fire upon arrival with people trapped. The fire then seems to appear after arrival and entry.

  • Volunteer for life

    Here I am Gunny sorry been out of town for few days . If that was our first due Idk what the outcome would be. I hope a speedy recovery for our brothers. Check out our website pics and vids on you tube. We run like fdny bro smooth and cool. How was vets day? I spent it raking leaves. Hope you had a nice day at the local vfw drinking keystone light.

    • TheGunny

      Your ignorance knows no bounds, does it? Drinking at the firehouse? That went out with tailboards and positive pressure Scotts.

      Still no 2nd guessing huh? That figures.

  • Anonymous

    I suspect I already know the answer to this question, but I will ask it anyway. Will any of the volunteer officers be disciplined, up to and including demotion, for some of the blatant failures that we can see in this video (as well as those that will likely come out of the investigation)?

    Being an officer should be about accountability. You are responsible for the failures of those below you because it is your responsibility to make sure they have the training and supervision to do things the right way.

  • Volunteer for life

    If ems was all paid and vollies handled all fires we would have a better run county system

    • slackjawedyokel

      yeah but you dont -so spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which gets full first.

  • pa-fire

    internet gurus mapquest kentland vfd and stop in for a pop and critique their tactics on this call, then log back on and let me know how that went, im sure the guys there will be happy that you taught them how to put out a fire

  • Volunteer for life

    Kentland really makes guys that envious? Wow rockstar status.

  • Jeff

    Sorry for the late post norcal, how long do you wait with fire blowing out 1,2,3 plus windows before you recognize that a little water would have gone along ways.    Its all about the search, pull the crews back to a good spot, throw some water at it and get back to work, guess it looks better to melt the helmets and injure some guys just to say we went interior first and always.  Hope all are doing well and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.   Did not even mention the comment by the video guy wondering when then the 2nd floor windows would be taken out, that would have been a great call. 

  • Heavy2

    A lot of mm QB's but I have to say that some of what I read is very true. Unless you have a hose line in place, INTERIOR, nobody should be taking any windows from the outside. Only

    ventilating until then should be for life and that will come from the inside or coordinated w/ such member