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Quick Takes

Mug shots of Jerry Engle (l) and James Martinez provided by PGFD.
Mug shots of Jerry Engle (l) and James Martinez provided by PGFD.

“When you are the best fireman in the county and you come from Kentland, I mean, yeah, everyone’s going to try to knock you off the pedestal.”: The words of Probie Days author Jerry Engle, talking with STATter911.com in May. That interview came just a day after a raid by fire investigators of the Riverdale VFD and the home where Engle was living. Engle is now in the Prince George’s County jail on arson charges (a return visit for Engle who there on unrelated charges in July). Engle was indicted Thursday along with James Martinez, a career firefighter in Montgomery County. Both men were members of Riverdale in March, 2008 when a vacant house was set on fire down the street from the Riverdale VFD. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey and PGFD Chief Eugene Jones say the investigation is still active with more arrests possible. Sources indicate the investigators are looking at a list of fires that includes more than just homes and apartments that were vacant. We have updated our coverage from yesterday adding an official statement from Riverdale VFD , the press release from PGFD and more. Click here.

Volunteer recruitment in “rural” Prince George’s County is down: I use the word “rural” in quotes because the Route 381 corridor in the southern part of the county isn’t quite as rural as it used to be and that appears to be the problem. Despite PGFD touting recent records on volunteer recruitment, the fire companies in this part of the county point to declining numbers of firefighters. Zoe Tillman at Gazette.net has the story.

$20 to kill a firefighter: That’s the sad truth from Detroit where it has surfaced that the man accused of starting the fire that killed Firefighter Walt Harris was paid $20 to burn down the home. Read the details.

DC’s overtime questioned: The Examiner’s Melanie Ciarrone looks at how the staffing of water supply companies is impacting the DC Fire & EMS Department’s overtime spending.

Geezer cranking them out: Firegeezer Bill and his partner FossilMedic Mike had a very productive Thursday. Lots of good stories. Click and scroll. I particularly liked the pictures of the two derailments at the same bridge.

Finding the plug: Fire inspectors in Bonita Springs, Florida are cracking down on hidden hydrants.

Sleeping dispatcher update from Ohio: We told you recently about the Warren County 911 director who resigned in the controversy of a dispatcher who may have been dozing as a call came in that was a key to a high profile murder case. The call taker’s discipline and more details have now been revealed. Read the story.

Dispute over how to pay OT settlement: We have been following the story from Louisville on the recent settlement of a 9-year dispute over firefighters overtime. Now questions are being raised over how the city will pay out the almost $45 million in back pay. Read the story.

 

Inside the Command Post: It has been a while since we have checked in with this continuing series of videos from San Bernardino, California

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