A three-alarm (plus) fire that began in a storage area behind the warehouse used by a firm that remodels bathrooms and closets resulted in two Prince George’s County (MD) Fire/EMS Department fire engines being destroyed. Caught in the fire after the wind shifted were Rescue Engine 833 from Kentland VFD and Engine 828 from West Lanham Hills VFD. No firefighters were seriously injured.
Acoording to The Washington Post, in the he storage area were “many flammable materials — wooden panels, tires, cars in disrepair waiting to be fixed, sea containers of styrofoam.” The two pumpers were caught in the fire when the wind shifted.
Below are news articles along with videos and tweets from Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief Marc Bashoor, Chief Spokesman Mark Brady and others.
The building fire at Ashwood Drive is truly an unfortunate event and we at the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department are deeply saddened by the injuries received by our members and the loss of our unit. It is our humble opinion that the Officers and Members who operated on this incident did so in the highest tradition of the KVFD and we are blessed for our members escape of the near tragic situation. While the result was disheartening, we stand united in our dedication to the community, the Department, and our unwavering membership. We thank you for your thoughts and well wishes during this tough time.
The fire took a surprising turn early on, when the first two trucks arrived on the scene at about 5:15 p.m. The trucks, operated by the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department and the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department, parked where they had a clear view of the fire, just as the firefighters had been trained, Brady said.
Then the wind suddenly changed direction, sending the fire straight toward the firefighters. They tried their best to hold it off, but ultimately had to pull back, leaving their trucks to be gutted by the blaze.
Brady said that both volunteer fire departments have other trucks they can use to respond to fires. The county fire department pays a portion of the insurance on the trucks and will help with the replacement cost, he said. The volunteer departments also might hold fundraisers or apply for grants.
A massive fire in Capitol Heights destroyed two fire trucks that were responding to the three-alarm blaze.
A giant plume of smoke could be seen for miles around the D.C. area. Even fans at the Nationals game reported seeing smoke all the way from Nationals Park located about ten miles away from the scene.
“It was like a huge big ball of smoke, like a football field upright, but probably bigger,” said witness Patrick Horn. “It was huge.”
The fire started outside of a roofing business as the fire department said different types of building materials were fueling the flames. But the blaze never reached inside of the building and did not damage the building other than minor smoke damage to the roof.
The wind became a huge problem as it shifted the smoke and flames toward arriving fire crews. Two fire engines worth more than $1.5 million are now charred remains as a result of the fire. “We believe there were propane tanks exploding at the point those engines became involved,” said Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor. “We could hear it.” One engine belonged to the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department while the other belonged to the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department.
“In the 34 years I’ve been doing it, we’ve never lost two fire engines on a building fire,” said Bashoor. More than 100 firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire. Prince George’s County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady said one firefighter suffered a small burn injury to the leg, but there were no serious injuries. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
At 715 pm. Media should gather on sidewalk in front of 8740 ASHWOOD Drive for a statement and visual on damaged apparatus — Mark Brady (@PGFDPIO) April 6, 2015
Ashwood Drive fire under control – still burning, FF’s cutting fence to get brush fires burning into swamp – 2 fire trucks lost, all FFs ok — Marc Bashoor (@PGFD_Chief) April 6, 2015
Commercial Building Fire 2 Alarm 8700 block of ASHWOOD Drive in Capitol Heights — Mark Brady (@PGFDPIO) April 6, 2015