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Branchville fire department welcomes public to open house


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Photo by Jim Davis. Diego Banks, 4, of College Park, puts out a stove fire at Branchville Volunteer Fire Department’s open house.

Photo by Jim Davis. Diego Banks, 4, of College Park, puts out a stove fire at Branchville Volunteer Fire Department’s open house.

Published on: Tuesday, October 15, 2013

By Jim Davis

Fire truck rides for kids, fire prevention demonstrations and a car fire were just some of the activities Sunday afternoon at Branchville Volunteer Fire Department’s open house for Fire Prevention Week.

More than100 people came out to the firehouse on Branchville Road in College Park.

“The overall attendance was great,” said Jeff Dickey, volunteer deputy fire chief of Branchville VFD. “We hope people enjoyed the activities we provided for them today and hope they will remember what they learned and be back next year.”

Photo by Jim Davis. A car fire demonstration at the open house Saturday.

Photo by Jim Davis. A car fire demonstration at the open house Saturday.

As part of the activities at Branchville, Berwyn Heights Volunteer Fire Department demonstrated how they rescue passengers trapped inside a vehicle because of a motor vehicle accident.

The Branchville firefighters set a donated car ablaze and demonstrated how they extinguish vehicle fires.

“Our members … did an outstanding job in providing the community (information) on what we do each day,” Dickey said.

Branchville VFD is fully staffed by volunteers. The department lost its career firefighters when Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department shuffled staffing, removing Branchville’s daytime career staffing in March. The career firefighters were placed at other fire stations in the county.

“I think the volunteers at Branchville do an outstanding job in what they do,” said John Wills, of College Park.

Branchville VFD needs more volunteers, Branchville VFD President James Crisman said.

“There are times we just cannot staff our apparatus,” Crisman said. “It’s hard for our members to be here 24/7.”

Individuals interested in volunteering are welcome to stop by the firehouse anytime after 3 p.m. to talk to someone about joining.

“Training is free. We have a live-in program for our members, and after 20 years of service, you can get a small retirement check from the county,” Crisman said.

Several other volunteer fire departments in Prince George’s County are seeking volunteers. Those departments include Riverdale Heights, Riverdale, Seat Pleasant, Boulevard Heights and Greenbelt.

For more information on becoming a volunteer firefighter, call the Prince George’s County Volunteer Firefighters Association at 301-583-1910.

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