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Local volunteer firefighters help DCFD during Capitol Hill blaze

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Published on: Wednesday, June 12, 2013

By Jim Davis

Prince George’s County volunteer firefighters aided Washington, D.C., firefighters as they battled a blaze at Frager’s Hardware store last Wednesday  in Capitol Hill.

Fire erupted just after 6:30 p.m. June 5 at the long-standing hardware store on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast D.C. Four alarms brought more than 200 District firefighters and more than 50 fire trucks to the scene.

The massive response left several parts of the District without fire protection.

An agreement between the District of Columbia Fire Department and Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department allowed several Prince George’s County fire units to transfer to District fire stations to provide fire protection.

“We will only transfer a fire truck to another jurisdiction if we have a second crew in the fire house or if there is another fire department close by to cover their area,” PGFD chief spokesman Mark Brady said.

Ritchie, Kentland, Bladensburg, Boulevard Heights and Seat Pleasant volunteer departments covered sections of Northeast and Southeast Washington, D.C., with a fire truck from each company.

Fairfax County Fire Department also aided some parts of the Northwest quadrant.

Prince George’s County firefighters responded to several media and fire calls while in the city.

“Every day we send our firefighters and paramedics to assist Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Howard and Charles County fire departments,” Brady said. “Its not that often we transfer units into D.C. I think the last time was last year.”

The District of Columbia Fire Department has provided assistance to Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department only a few times in recent years.

In 2011, the District transferred units twice to the District Heights Fire/EMS 826 as Prince George’s County firefighters battled several fires in Capitol Heights.

In 2009, District firefighters assisted Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department at a two-alarm fire at Eastern Avenue and Sheriff Road near the border between the two jurisdictions.

In June 1999, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department transferred more than a dozen fire and EMS units to cover parts of Northwest, Northeast and Southeast Washington, D.C., as firefighters attended the funeral services of two D.C. firefighters killed in the line of duty. 

Other jurisdictions in the D.C. metropolitan area have similar agreements.

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