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Some really interesting pre-arrival video from Ndubuisi “Jkid” Okeh taken during a house fire yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon at 4110 Alton Street in Prince George’s County, Maryland. If you look closely at the driver of first-arriving Engine 826 from PGFD’s District Heights Station, you’ll see him stretching a supply line to a hydrant across the street at 4101 Alton Street, at the corner of Billings Avenue. You’ll likely also notice something else sitting on that corner. Yes, that’s a firehouse. It belongs to PGFD Station 817, the Boulevard Heights Fire & Rescue Department, Inc.
Station 817 failed to post at a house fire across the street from the firehouse. Here’s the official word from @PGFDPIO via Twitter: “At the time of the fire, there was no volunteer staffing at 17. The 911 call came in at 4:09pm, Units from 26 and 29 were on scene at 4:14pm, within NFPA standards. Fire was extinguished with no injuries or transports.”
This is not a new problem at Boulevard Heights. A decade ago, when I was still a TV reporter, I did a series of stories about the response problems at the same firehouse. This occurred after PGFD removed career personnel from the station. In 2009 the station was scratching on almost 70-percent of its calls. Not sure what that figure is today. On just one weekend in 2009 Boulevard Heights missed 30 calls. A memo from then PGFD Lt. Col. Victor Stagnaro said, despite the poor response record, PGFD “has been operating with minimal or no operational impact without the services of the Boulevard Heights Volunteer Fire Department”. You can read those stories here.
In this fire, the first arriving engine came from almost 2 1/2 miles away instead of from just across the street.