A 20-year-old volunteer firefighter is in stable condition and being evaluated at the trauma unit at Prince George’s Hospital Center after falling out of a responding fire engine this afternoon. Prince George’s County Fire/Rescue Department Battalion Chief Denise Dickens tells STATter911.com the firefighter tumbled from the rig at Addison Road and 60th Avenue around 2:00 PM as Engine 838 from Chapel Oaks VFD responded to a report of a house fire in Temple Hills, Maryland.
Dickens says a reserve PGFD engine was being used at the Chapel Oaks Station. She could not say if the firefighter was wearing a seatbelt or which model engine was in use.
As STATter911.com reported after a similar incident on January 21, 2008, the department has had issues with the door latches on older model Seagrave engines used as department reserve units. In that case a volunteer with Bladensburg VFD fell out of a 1989 PGFD Seagrave on Route 450 at Edmonston Road. It was determined that the firefighter was not wearing a seatbelt and that there had been other incidents where doors have popped open on that model engine. Here is part of the statement from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady after the 2008 incident:
On this particular unit and the majority of our similar units the interior door latches are designed to open the door when the lever is pulled upward. There is a stop on the lever to prevent the lever from going down. However, if lever is overpowered in the down position it will break the stop and permit the door to open from the inside by pulling the lever up or pushing it down. The unit was inspected this morning and found that both rear cab doors would open by pushing the lever down. This situation will be corrected prior to it going back in service.
We could not find any issue with the seat belts. They are operating normal.
Following a similar incident with Fire/EMS Station 807, the Safety Office conducted a survey to determine if there were any other vehicles with a similar issue. Those units were identified and corrected at that time. Apparently, it does not take a lot of effort to over ride the lever stop in the down position and any unit that is found to have this condition is repaired as soon as possible by Apparatus Maintenance.