Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:46 AM
Photo by Jim Davis. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor presented nine Pepco workers with the Fire Chief’s Award for their actions at a house fire on Oct. 17 in Upper Marlboro. Bashoor credits the workers’ quick actions with preventing injuries to a 3-year-old boy, who was asleep upstairs at the time of the fire.
Published on: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
By Jim Davis
Not a day goes by that Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department doesn’t call Pepco for help — whether there are wires down in the street or an electrical fire in someone’s home — but on Oct.17 it was Pepco calling the Fire Department for help at an Upper Marlboro house.
Around 9 a.m. that Wednesday morning, nine Pepco workers were performing scheduled work at a house in the 2600 block of Ritchie-Marlboro Road when they heard a smoke alarm sounding inside the house.
A worker went to investigate and discovered a fire in the kitchen. Without concern for their welfare, the Pepco workers entered the residence and yelled out several times to see if anyone was home. Hearing no response, the crew entered the kitchen with a dry chemical extinguisher from their truck and was successful in knocking down most of the flames. While a small fire still burned, the large amount of toxic smoke ceased filling the house.
Prior to the fire starting, a mother had just left the house to walk one of her children down a long driveway to catch the school bus while her 3-year-old son was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. As she was returning, one of the Pepco workers ran to her to tell her about the fire. The mother ran toward the residence and within minutes was upstairs retrieving her sleeping son.
Several of the Pepco employees ran inside after the woman, but they were unable to locate her as she had evacuated with her child to safety by way of a second stairwell.
“If the fire had been allowed to burn, a large fire would have developed very quickly. In which case, the thick toxic smoke and high heat would have filled the home and jeopardized the toddler’s life,” County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said.
Because of their heroic actions, Bashoor presented the nine Pepco employees with the Fire Chief’s Award at a special press conference Friday at the Cranford/Graves Fire Services Building in Landover Hills.
During the presentation, Bashoor said, “For your rapid notification to 911, alerting the homeowner to the danger in her home, and placing yourselves in harm’s way to extinguish a kitchen fire, you are hereby presented with the Fire Chief’s Award.”
He concluded by saying, “Your quick thinking and fast actions, which saved property and prevented injuries to a child, are highly commendable.”
One of the workers, Donny Pfeifer, told The Sentinel, “It’s exciting, but we were in the right place at the right time.”
“You’re kind of set back by all the praise,” Pfeifer added, “but if you really think about it, if we weren’t there, it could have really gotten out of control and the young kid could have lost his life.”