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Fireground radio traffic (above)
Since yesterday (Saturday) evening, a serious fireground dispute between two Prince George’s County (MD) fire companies is playing out publicly on Facebook. In addition, radio traffic of the incident (above) confirms an open threat to shut down another engine’s attack line after failing to get a supply line charged when requested. It’s being characterized by the former chief of one company as “attempted murder”. A Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman says a “violence in the workplace investigation has been initiated.”
The dispute is between the engine crews from Station 833 (Kentland Volunteer Fire Department) and Station 826 (District Heights Volunteer Fire Department). Station 826 is a predominantly career staffed station and Station 833 is all volunteer.
The fire yesterday evening was near the intersection of Larchmont Avenue and Elfin Avenue in the town of Capitol Heights. According to the audio, Engine 826B was first arriving and hand stretched a supply line toward a hydrant. Engine 833 picked up that line. At 5:23 in the audio there’s a radio transmission of “Send the water 33.” At 6:15 Engine 826B says, “33 I need that water. I am going to put a hose clamp on your attack line.” About a minute later Engine 833 transmits, “Engine 833 to command, have 26’s driver take the hose clamp off our attack line.”
On Facebook, longtime Kentland volunteer and former chief Ed Lehan posted about the dispute and characterized the use of a hose clamp on the attack line as “attempted murder”.
The entire Facebook discussion prompted by Lehan’s post is here.
PGFD chief spokesman Mark Brady sent the following statement to STATter911.com:
Immediate action was taken last night. Because it is a personnel matter I can’t get into too many details. A violence in the workplace investigation has been initiated and in matters such as this the personnel involved are removed from emergency operations until investigation is complete and disciplinary actions, if deemed appropriate, are taken.
When asked by a local TV station for comment about this incident I replied that whatever the provocation I can’t imagine a justification for putting a clamp on an attack line that was in operation with a crew inside a burning structure.