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PGFD battalion chief jumps in pool in effort to save boy & his uncle


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A 12-year-old boy used a trash can to get over a fence and into a neighbor’s pool in the Marlton community of Prince George’s County, Maryland yesterday afternoon.  That started a chain of events that resulted in the drownings of the boy and his uncle.

The first on the scene of the report of a child motionless in a pool was PGFD Battalion Chief Butch Leonhard. Leonhard found both Najee Clark and 59-year-old David Massey in the pool. He jumped in and was soon joined by others from PGFD in an unsuccessful effort to save the two. Here are excerpts from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady’s press release:

A 911 call was received just before 2:30 pm, Thursday, July 22, 2010, reporting a 12-year-old male was motionless in a neighbor’s pool at Midland Turn and Fairhaven Avenue in the community of Marlton, in Upper Marlboro, MD. Firefighters and Paramedics from Croom Fire/EMS Station #845, Marlboro Fire/EMS Station #820 and Battalion Chief 807 were dispatched for the possible drowning at 2:23 pm. Staff from the nearby Fire/EMS Training Academy heard the dispatch and headed in the direction of the incident in the event that additional staffing was needed. The 911 caller later advised dispatchers that her uncle was on the way over to the neighbors pool to see what was going on.

Fire Battalion Chief Butch Leonhard was the initial fire/EMS unit to arrive and went immediately to the pool. He witnessed not one but two victims in the deep end of the swimming pool. Realizing this was a life or death situation, Battalion Chief Leonhard entered the water and within seconds was joined by Fire Captain Grady Valencis from the Training Academy and Fire Technician Daryl Bullock from Engine 845.

Prior to the Fire/EMS Department arrival, it is believed that the 12-year-old male’s uncle saw his nephew at the bottom of the pool and went in to save him. The 59-year-old male also soon became a victim.

Other firefighters and paramedics stood by on the pool deck as the trio went to the 8-foot deep end of the pool and removed the pair of victims to the top and handed them off to awaiting personnel. Paramedics quickly assessed both patients were unconscious, non-breathing and had no pulse. The patients were loaded into two separate transport units and taken to nearby Southern Maryland Hospital where Emergency Room staff worked feverishly to revive the pair. Tragically, both victims were pronounced deceased a short time after arrival, apparent victims of a drowning.

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