Thursday, March 31, 2016

Use of Fire Pits, Fire Bowls and Chimineas in One- and Two-Family Homes

The Use of Fire Pits, Fire Bowls, Chimineas and other similar appliances has become popular in our Community. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service would like to share with you the criteria for their use
Photo via

  • You must have permission of the land owner.
  • There must be one person at least 18 years of age to assume responsibility for the use of these appliances.
  • A permit from the Fire Marshal or the Department of Environmental Protection is not required. 
  • Use in accordance to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Once you purchase this appliance, keep these guidelines in a safe place for future reference. 
  • Use of Fire Pits, Fire Bowls, Chimineas and similar portable devices must be at least 20 feet away from any building or structure. Keep a clear area (clear meaning free of anything that can burn) of at least 3 feet in diameter around the appliance. Please remember that mulch can burn so keep your appliance at least 3 feet away from mulch as well. 
  • Do not use or store Fire Pits, Fire Bowls, Chimineas or similar devices on a balcony or deck. 
  • Burn only aged dried wood. The burning of any type of construction material or trash is prohibited. 
  • Do not use any type of flammable or combustible liquid at any time. 
  • Have a garden hose connected to a constant water source available and close by.
  • Smoke is not allowed to cross property lines. Be mindful of the wind speed prior to starting this type of fire. 
  • Do not use on Code Orange or Code Red Air Quality days. 
  • Dispose of all ashes in a safe manner. After 24 hours has passed, all left over hot ashes must be thoroughly dampened, cooled and stored in a metal can that is used solely for ash storage. Ashes that are 2 or 3 days old may appear to be safe, but can still retain enough heat to cause an unwanted fire. Do not discard hot ashes in a compost pile, paper bag cardboard box or anything that is combustible. Also, be careful in handling partially burned wood. The wood may still be smoldering and cause a serious burn. 
Please keep in mind, that if the Fire Department is contacted and determines your situation to be a fire hazard, the Fire Department can require you to extinguish your fire. If additional questions arise, please call Code Compliance at 240-777-2457.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Seven Year Old Everyday Hero Honored For Making The Right Call

Earlier today a seven-year-old Silver Spring girl, who recently called 911 to help her Dad, was honored as an “Everyday Hero” and met the MCFRS call taker/dispatcher, Amanda Poore, who took her 911 call. Jenna made the right call and got help to her home quickly.

Fire Chief Scott Goldstein praised Jenna for her quick thinking, calm demeanor and remembering her home address as she made her 911 call on Sunday, February 28. Chief Goldstein then presented Jenna with a medal and plaque in recognition of her outstanding effort and potentially lifesaving call.

Jenna was then treated to a tour of the MCFRS dispatch and communication area by Amanda.

MCFRS utilized Periscope to live stream the even and you can view the replay below along with other videos of the event.

Also below is an audio of Jenna’s 911 call.

MCFRS wants to know that, if needed, can you make the right call? When calling 911, know what to expect. Learn more here: What to Expect When You Call 911

As well, make sure your child knows their home address – or two if mom and dad live in different homes. Here is an activity for your child that we hope helps:  "Learn Your Address!" Activity for Kids

BC Kevin Frazier Provides An Update On Windjammer Way Townhouse Fire

The latest on the Gaithersburg townhouse fire, on Windjammer Way, from last night. Video was recorded a little after 12 p.m. on today's date.

Gaithersburg Townhouse Fire Leaves One Dead

Around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, MCFRS units were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 1800 block of Windjammer Way in Gaithersburg. Firefighters arrived on scene and found heavy fire conditions in a two-story, middle of the row townhouse.

Two occupants of the home were alerted to the fire by a working smoke alarm, exited the home and called 911. Firefighters were made aware that there was one other occupant of the home, who resided in the basement, who was unaccounted for.

Firefighters engaged in firefighting operations as well as escorting neighbors out of their homes next door. A second alarm was called for bringing additional firefighters and equipment to the scene. Ultimately, the bulk of the fire was knocked down, brought under control, and mostly contained to the townhouse of origin.

Shortly after midnight, the body of an adult male was found among the debris in the basement.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and MCFRS Fire Investigators are working with Montgomery County Police Homicide detectives – which is standard procedure with a fire death. Due to the extensive damage, and partial collapse of the first floor, investigators are currently awaiting the arrival of engineers to stabilize the structure for fire investigation operations.

Red Cross is on scene and assisting the occupants and neighbors who have been displaced as a result of the fire.

Damage estimates are pending. Over 100 firefighters were on scene and there were no reported injuries to fire department personnel or residents.

Gaithersburg Townhouse Fire Leaves One Dead

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Seven Year Old Makes The Right Call

A seven-year-old Silver Spring girl who recently called 911 will meet the MCFRS call taker/dispatcher who assisted with the call. The young girl made the right call and got help to her home quickly.

She and her family will hear the 911 audio tape for the first time and have an opportunity to meet the call taker/dispatcher as well as tour the MCFRS dispatch and communication area.

The youngster and her family will meet MCFRS dispatchers at the Montgomery County Public Safety Communications Center, located at 1300 Quince Orchard Boulevard in Gaithersburg at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

If needed, can you make the right call? When calling 911, know what to expect. Learn more here: What to Expect When You Call 911
Below is an excerpt from the 911 call.

Seven People Displaced In Early Morning Bethesda Duplex Fire

At approximately 3:20 a.m. this morning, MCFRS units responded for multiple reports of an apartment fire in the 4300 block of Sangamore Road in Bethesda. Firefighters arrived on the scene and reported fire coming through the roof of a two-story duplex apartment.

Crews engaged in fire suppression activities as well as assisting residents down the stairs and out of the building. The fire was quickly brought under control.
The fire appears to have started in the ceiling and attic area above a bathroom. An occupant of the unit heard crackling noises and smelled a little bit of smoke about the same time neighbors also saw fire coming from the attic and called 911.  Smoke alarms did not activate as there apparently was not enough smoke in the living space area to activate the alarms.

Damages are estimated at approximately $200,000.00 to the structure and $50,000.00 to the contents. The cause appears to be electrical in nature though it is still under investigation. A total of 45 firefighters were on scene. There were no reported injuries to residents or fire and rescue personnel.

A total of seven people (two families) have been displaced as a result of the fire. Red Cross is on scene assisting those who were displaced.

Seven People Displaced In Early Morning Bethesda Duplex Fire

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don’t Get Blown Away By Wind Related Issues

As of noon, Montgomery County is under a Wind Advisory through at least midnight tonight. Winds are expected to be 20 – 30 mph with wind gusts as strong as 50 mph!

The strongest winds are expected to occur around now and also later today and through this evening.

With winds like that you can potentially expect to see scattered tree damage along with downed power lines. Of course with downed power lines you can also expect power outages.

MCFRS would like to provide the following tips and are asking residents to plan ahead, be ready and be safe during this wind event:
  • Make sure you secure, or bring inside, any loose items that could become dangerous projectiles in high winds.

  • Ensure your cell phones, laptops, tablets and other important devices are fully charged.

  • Do NOT use candles for lighting. Using candles during a power outage poses an extreme risk of fire. Use flashlights or battery-powered lighting options. 

  • As a reminder, treat ALL intersections without a working stoplight as a four-way stop.  

  • Turn off any heat-producing appliances (toaster oven, range, irons, etc.) that were running when the power went out to prevent them from starting unexpectedly when power is restored.  If left on, they can pose a serious fire hazard.  

  • If you are using a generator, make sure it is in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of breathing harmful fumes. Never place a generator under an open window and follow all manufacturer instructions.

  • Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm are fresh. Test alarms to ensure they are working.  

  • Take care driving high profile vehicles such as semi-trailer trucks, buses, and sport utility vehicles. 

  • If live wires are involved, the tree is blocking a roadway, the tree is on a structure or if anyone is trapped under a fallen tree, call 911.

  • Keep children and pets away from areas where power lines may have fallen.

  • Use extreme caution when cleaning up storm damage on your property. Downed or damaged power lines can send electrical currents through tree branches and metal fences, so survey the area carefully - especially if you'll be using a pruning pole, ax or chainsaw. 

  • Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from power lines. Tree limbs and other objects can conduct electricity and carry a current strong enough to cause serious injury or death.

  • Use extreme caution around downed or damaged power lines. Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from power lines, never drive over downed lines and treat all wires – even those that are hanging or down – as if they are “live” (energized).

  • For downed trees on public property, Montgomery County residents should call -311 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the county or from a cell phone), or file a report at

  • Reach out to your neighbors who may need help, especially those that are elderly, disabled or infirmed.

Garage Fire In Silver Spring

On Sunday, March 27 at approximately 9 a.m. MCFRS units responded for the report of a house fire at 1608 Timberline Road in Silver Spring. Units arrived to find a two-story single-family house with heavy fire in the attached garage and heavy smoke coming from the roof.

Firefighters were able to quickly bring the fire under control. There was some extension to the first and second floor with water and smoke damage throughout. The occupants of the home, a family of four, were not home at the time of the fire.

Damages were estimated to be $150,000.00 to the structure and $100,000.00 to the contents. The family of four has been displaced as a result of the damage.

The fire investigators determined that the fire originated in the garage and have listed the cause as accidental. There were no reported injuries to firefighters on scene.

Garage Fire in Silver Spring

New Burtonsville Volunteer FD Truck 715 In Production

By: Michael Ryman, Captain
       Burtonsville VFD

Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department's new Truck 715 is currently in production at Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin. Our brand new ladder truck is approximately 11 weeks into production at this point in time. The department expects to take delivery in early May.

This 2016 Pierce Arrow XT ladder truck will feature a 105' heavy duty aerial ladder as well as a pre-piped waterway and 217' of ground ladders.  It will replace the current Truck 715, a 1998 Pierce Dash 105' aerial.

You can get the latest information and pictures by going here: New T715

photo of new burtonsville VFD ladder truck being built

photo of graphic of what new truck 715 will look like

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

For those of you who observe this day - Happy Easter!

May it be a SAFE and Happy one!

photo of easter basket with eggs

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mass Casualty Incident Drill

By: Captain Pedro Meneses
       Fire Station #15 A-Shift

On Wednesday, March 23, Fire Station 15 A-Shift participated in a company drill involving Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) triage.

Crews simulated being dispatched to an MCI and were expected to read the description on the "victims" (orange traffic cones) and triage accordingly. Crews executed the drill rapidly and effectively.

This is part of the MCFRS weekly MCI review and practice. Plus it was a nice day to be outside. Here's a quick look below!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Top Five Causes of Poisoning

We are getting near the end of Poison Prevention Week and we hope you have learned a bit more about this oft overlooked safety topic.

When most people think about poisoning, they tend to think of someone swallowing a cleaning product or similar. As you can see in the info-graphic below, poisoning encompasses much more.

Take a moment to look at the variety of causes of poisoning and take steps today to prevent this from occurring in your home - especially if you have small children.

Germantown And Boyd's Brush Fires Keep Up County Firefighters Busy

On a 'Red Flag' day, Thursday, March 24 a little before 4 p.m. units from Clarksburg/Germantown and surrounding areas were dispatched for a report of a brush fire near the boathouse at Black Hills Regional Park. As crews were assembling various resources to contain and extinguish this fire other MCFRS units were being dispatched shortly after 4 p.m. for a reported brush fire in the vicinity of Blunt Road and Brink Road in Germantown.

The fire at Black Hills Regional Park would eventually involve about four or five acres and took several hours and the efforts of dozens of firefighters staffing four engines, three brush trucks, two tankers and several command officers to control, contain and extinguish. One firefighter was transported to an area hospital for observation.

In the meantime, firefighters from Germantown (Milestone) and surrounding areas arrived on the scene on Blunt Road to find a large brush fire with possible impingement to a structure. Crews worked aggressively to control and contain the fire and protect a variety of structures in the area to include several homes. Crews were on the scene for several hours. Area roads were closed during the fire and cleanup.

Crews staffing several engines and ladder trucks (box alarm), three tankers were on scene along with several brush trucks.

As the fire spread throughout a wooded area it rapidly encroached several homes. A Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff who lives in the area reported the fire and assisted several neighbors from their homes prior to the arrival of firefighters.

The brush fire involved approximately four acres. Two sheds were damaged and while the fire came dangerously close to several homes, none were damaged. In addition, there were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

Germantown Brush Fire

What Is Your Favorite Fire Truck Color?

Help us answer an age old fire service question: What is your favorite fire truck color?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Final Inspection Today Of New T731

Earlier this month we reported on the inspect one of three new ladder trucks that would soon be joining the MCFRS fleet. You can go here to refresh your memory: MCFRS Inspects One Of Three New Ladder Trucks

Today the final inspection of new T731 – at Spartan ERV’s Pennsylvania plant – was conducted by the MCFRS aerial specification sub-committee.

Look for this beautiful new truck to begin serving Montgomery County residents in the not too distant future.

Final Inspection Today Of New T731

Spring Cleaning Dangers From Poisonous Products

We have had a busy first week of our #SpringIntoSafety campaign! As you may be aware, this week is Poison Prevention Week and hopefully all of you have seen our variety of safety tips here or on our various social media platforms.

Please make sure you check out our Twitter and Facebook pages in particular. As well, we have posted information on our Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

Since it is spring time many of you naturally start the annual spring cleaning ritual both indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, there are many hidden dangers lurking that you need to be aware of as you clean. Please take a moment and review the below tips to keep you and your family safe this spring.  

Spring cleaning tip sheet

Tip sheet can also be found in pdf version by clicking HERE

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Silver Spring Townhouse Fire

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, MCFRS units were dispatched for a reported townhouse fire in the 1100 block of Good Hope Drive in the Silver Spring area of the county. Units arrived to find light smoke showing from a two story residential middle of the row townhouse.

Firefighters were able to quickly locate and extinguish a small fire in a second floor bedroom. 

Smoke alarms in the home did activate. An adult male and his daughter did exit the home and were out of the townhouse upon MCFRS arrival. The adult male was transported to an area hospital for a checkup. Both occupants were displaced as a result the fire and were being assisted by the Red Cross.

Fire Investigators were called to the scene to conduct a Cause and Origin investigation. Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature as a result of an arcing outlet located next to the bed.

There were no injuries to fire and rescue personnel. Damages were estimated to be $100,000.00 to the structure and $20,000.00 to the contents of the home.

Silver Spring Townhouse Fire

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gaithersburg House Fire On Primrose View Court

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on Monday, March 21, MCFRS units were dispatched for a report of a house on fire at 9400 Primrose View Court in Gaithersburg. Upon arrival, firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions and reported the exterior was 'fully involved' and that the fire had extended into the home's first and second floors. Additional resources were immediately requested.

Firefighters initiated a transitional fire attack by first applying water from the exterior to knock the fire down and then transitioning to an interior attack to bring the fire under control.

Three occupants were home at the time of the fire and were able to escape unharmed. By the time occupants discovered the fire, it had engulfed a portion of the front of the home and rapidly spread when the vinyl siding ignited.

Fire Investigators were called to the scene to conduct an origin and cause investigation. Based on interviews with the occupants of the home, and numerous cigarette butts on the ground in the area the fire began, it was determined that the fire began on the exterior of the home and was accidental in nature caused by improperly discarded smoking material.

Approximately 85 firefighters responded to the scene to fight the fire. A total of five occupants of the home are displaced as a result of the fire. Damages are estimated to be $400,000.00 to the structure and $200,000.00 to the contents of the home.

When smoking outside MCFRS, along with its partners in safety at NFPA and the US Fire Administration, recommend the following:
  • Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grass, leaves and other things that could easily ignite.

  • Put your cigarette out in an ashtray or bucket with sand. Use ashtrays with a wide base so they won’t tip over and start a fire.

Primrose View Court

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Little Human Interest Story...And Some History

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis
Last Friday, Firefighter (FF) Lauren Wickson graduated from the Alexandria (Virginia) Fire Department's (AFD) Recruit School and began "life as a career firefighter" with AFD. Since 2011, FF Wickson has served as a volunteer firefighter with the Burtonsville VFD (C0 15) where she was also a "live-in" member."
photo of firefighter Lauren Wickson

The Montgomery County and Prince Georges County area is well-known for its student live-in programs at numerous volunteer fire stations across the regions. Folks from all over the United States have come to this region to gain experience, and education, and in many cases - employment as a career firefighter. In the 1st Battalion, the Burtonsville VFD is recognized for its long-standing live-in program - a program that FF Wickson was part of.

We asked FF Wickson to tell us "her story" about how she got here.

"I am originally from just outside Detroit, Michigan and first came to the Silver Spring, Maryland area in the summer of 2007 to work as a camp counselor," started Wickson. "I really liked the area and the people that I had met out here and thus returned the following summer. I basically just stayed out here and worked various jobs. I was looking for different career opportunities and obtained my Emergency Medical Technician certification from a community college. I joined Burtonsville in 2011 as an EMS member to obtain affiliation for my Maryland EMT-B certification with literally no knowledge of the fire service and no idea that I would one day try to become a career firefighter! It was a totally new and foreign world to me - but I loved it from day one."

She continued, "During my first year I asked a lot of questions and became more and more interested in the 'fire side' and took fire classes at the Montgomery County Training Academy in early 2013 and fell in love with the job. I moved into the firehouse that summer and worked to learn as much and get as much experience as possible. I had still been working various jobs but knew this was what I really wanted to do as a career! I started applying later that year and was fortunate to get an offer from the Alexandria FD in September 2015!"

We often hear the question from the public, "How did you to decide to become a firefighter?" When we saw the FF Wickson story, we thought this is a good place to start. Many thanks to Lauren for agreeing to share her story and congratulations on the new job!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

National Poison Prevention Week

March 20 - 26, 2016 is Poison Prevention Week. Did you know children under age six account for over half of all poison exposures?

Take a look at the infographic via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some of the stats may surprise you!

 poison control info graphic

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Coming Soon to MCFRS: One of 29 New EMS Units

By: Steve Lamphier
      Manager, Fleet Section 

MCFRS will soon be receiving 29 new EMS units of which eight will be in the new MCFRS red. In addition, several new staff cars will also be delivered.

These EMS units are on Freightliner chassis’ and built by PL Custom of Manasquan, NJ.

The committee created a more provider friendly patient care compartment, including adequate counter space, and a LifePak mount.  Also, the HVAC system has a UV light built in to reduce microorganisms that may affect the patient’s or provider’s health.

All 29 EMS units replace a significant portion of the frontline fleet and many reserve units that are 12-16 years old will be leaving the fleet.

photo of new ambulance in MCFRS red color
new mcfrs red staff car in front of PSHQ

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fitzgerald Auto Malls Receives Distinguished Service Award for 2016

For seventeen years Fitzgerald Auto Malls has partnered with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, and with other national and local government agencies, in an effort to prevent injuries to children due to improperly installed child safety seats.

Recently, Fitzgerald Auto Malls was recognized for its efforts of service to the community and support of trauma and injury prevention related activities. The Maryland Division of the American Trauma Society presented the Distinguished Service Award for 2016 to Mr. Jack Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of Fitzgerald Auto Malls.

"I can think of no one more deserving of this award," stated MCFRS Child Passenger Safety Seat Manager Emilie Crown. She continued, "Jack Fitzgerald has hosted car seat inspections for 17 years and over 47,000 car seats have been installed at these events. Parents and caregivers have been educated on how to transport their children safely and thousands have benefited from knowing they are keeping their children safe. He has provided great piece of mind to so many and is the most humble person you will ever meet."

Congratulations to Mr. Jack Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald Auto Malls!

Jack Fitzgerald with Susanne Ogaitis Jones, Maryland American Trauma Society
Jack Fitzgerald with Susanne Ogaitis Jones, Maryland American Trauma Society

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Clothes Dryer Cleaning Day – Preventing A Potential Fire In Your Home!

Over the last several months, MCFRS personnel have responded to fires involving clothes dryers.  One way to prevent these fires is to clean in and around your clothes dryer at least once a year.

With the start of spring just a couple of days away, what better way to start your annual "spring cleaning" then by taking care of an oft over-looked part of many homes. 

Last year I cleaned my clothes dryer and, as you can see by the pictures below, there was a ton of lint build up in, on, and around it. These pictures show why it is very important you take time to clean both inside and outside the clothes dryer and not just the lint trap.

A couple of pictures show what happens to the inside of your pipe that runs in and just outside your dryer (Fig 1) that carries the hot air, and lint, out. The next photo (Fig 2) shows the inside of the flexible duct that connects to your dryer pipe and then connects to another pipe that usually runs to the outside of your house.

In the next photo (Fig 3) you can see the cleaning device I used to run up into the pipe and dryer and the large amount of lint I pulled out of the dryer. These photos clearly show the large amount of lint that builds up and can, when heated up by the hot air of the dryer, actually ignite and catch fire! The more the build up, the better chance for ignition and then – a fire in your home!

A couple of the photos (Fig 4 & 5) clearly show just how dusty and dirty the back of your dryer and the floor behind and underneath it can become. This also can create problems and hazards and you need to make sure you clean these spots as well!

For more tips please go here: 
Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Tips

We hope you will take this opportunity to "Spring Into Safety" and help make your home a safer place!
dryer pipe
Fig 1
flexible duct
Fig 2

cleaning device and lint removed
Fig 3
back of dryer
Fig 4

Floor under dryer
Fig 5

Hands Only CPR Demo

Yesterday morning, live on #Periscope, Capt. Bob Lindsey showed us how to perform hands only CPR. Take a few minutes to learn something new!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

42nd Annual Public Safety Awards Luncheon

Last week, MCFRS Leadership and members were honored to have attended the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s 42nd Annual Public Safety Awards Luncheon.

The annual event is an opportunity for the community, colleagues, families, and officials to honor first responders from the various public safety agencies that serve Montgomery County.

This year MCFRS had several outstanding individuals recognized for efforts in emergent situations as well as recognition for life long service. Those that received recognition were:

Chief Leslie B. Thompson Community Service Award: Awarded to Fire and Rescue Chief John W. Hartley, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, for his lifelong devotion to the fire and rescue community over the past 66 years.

Bronze Medal: Ocean City Water Rescue - Awarded to Master Fire Fighter/Rescuer Timothy Beatty of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Honorable Mention: Collision on I-495 Split at I-270 - Fire Fighter Rescuer III Meghan Quinn and Fire Fighter Rescuer II Wyatt Smith of the Glen Echo Volunteer Fire Department.

To get further information on how each individual earned their award, please go here:

Below are some photos from the event courtesy of Ed Tenney, MCVFRA Photographer.

42nd Annual Public Safety Awards Luncheon

Keep The Luck Of The Irish Alive. Don't Drink And Drive!

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day tomorrow with an adult beverage? Make sure you plan ahead and either have a designated driver or call WRAP's SoberRide. Information below.

Keep The Luck Of The Irish Alive. Don't Drink And Drive!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New Public Safety Training Academy Campus Progress

By: Michael Clemens
Assistant Chief (Ret) MCFRS

After months of hard work, the new Public Safety Training Academy is starting to look like a campus. Total completion is still several months away but we have come a long way since the ground breaking in February of 2015.

Below is a series of photos highlighting just how far we have come in the process.  

In the photo below, and to the left, siding has been put on the police shooting range building exterior. At the center, and a little green in color, is the Academic Building for both police (MCP) and fire (MCFRS). The MCFRS offices are on the second floor on the left while MCP will be on the first floor just below. A lobby area will be in the center and all classrooms are on the right of the building.

the new Academic Building at the new PSTA

The multi-use Cityscape Structure Training area is going up in this photo. The school structure on the right is framed up. This will look great in the weeks to come.

Cityscape Structure Training area

Next up is the MCP’s Canine Training Building which is starting to take shape though the roof membrane is not installed yet. That should be happening soon. 

photo of Canine Training Building

Below, the arch between the gym and parking garage coming from the front plaza area is up.  It will hold the rolling gate swipe card gate going to the back building and areas.

the arch between the gym and parking garage

The High Bay and Fire Training Support Building is getting the interior painted. In addition, the balconies are getting installed along with lights, heating equipment and ventilation this week. The areas within the structure will be made to look like store fronts, a townhouse, and apartment building. There will also be storage and site support equipment on the other side of this building.

 High Bay and Fire Training Support Building

Siding completed on the High-Bay. Trim and doors next. 

photo of Siding completed on the High-Bay

In this photo we can see that the six story fire building (on the left) is half way up. This will be used for simulated fires and other emergencies in a high-rise building. Next to it is the single family burn structure that is almost complete.

photo of six story fire building

Elevator installed in the lobby of the Academic building. It is becoming cleaner and less dusty inside. They are cleaning to make it ready for the fiber installations next month and painting. Second floor balcony location over the lobby below.

the lobby of the Academic building

Look for another update soon! Right now, the estimate is the new training complex will be in sometime in late August for the beginning of fall classes.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Germantown Townhouse Fire Injures Eight Firefighters

At approximately 1 a.m. on Monday, March 14 MCFRS Units responded to the 19300 block of Churubusco Lane in the Germantown area of Montgomery County. First arriving units reported heavy fire and smoke showing from a middle of the row townhouse.

Firefighters engaged in firefighting operations and initial indications were all occupants of the home were safely out. A short time later, there was a concern that one occupant was missing and perhaps still in the home. Search and rescue operations were quickly initiated.

During the search and rescue operations, a partial collapse of the front of the structure occurred trapping eight firefighters and triggering a “Mayday” alert for all on scene. The “Mayday” was short lived as the firefighters either self-rescued or were quickly assisted to safety.

All eight firefighters were transported to area hospitals with a variety of non-life threatening injuries. Eventually, all eight firefighters were treated and released.

It was later learned that all occupants had successfully evacuated and were safe.

The fire reached Three Alarms and a total of approximately 120 firefighters were on the scene.

Due to the extensive damage to the home, Fire Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. Resources from the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Bureau, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Montgomery County Police, Anne Arundel County Fire and Rescue (K9) and Annapolis City Fire Investigations Office.

Damage totals are not available at this time but the townhouse will be a total loss. There was also damage to adjoining homes which will result in a total of 20 people being displaced. Red Cross is assisting those displaced.

Germantown Townhouse Fire Injures Eight Firefighters

Townhouse Fire and Wall Collapse 19300 block of Churubusco Lane

Video of wall collapse onto firefighters from townhouse fire this morning 19300 block of Churubusco Lane.

Eight firefighters sustained non-life threatening injuries. Seven of the firefighters have been treated and released. One firefighter suffered more significant injuries (non-life threatening) and is still being evaluated and treated at this time.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

It Only Takes ONE To Save Your Life!

Tonight all of you should be checking your smoke, and carbon monoxide, alarms as you are moving your clocks forward an hour. This one simple task can be a potentially life saving one!

a reminder to check your smoke alarms this evening

Friday, March 11, 2016

Smoke Alarm Alerts Family To Germantown House Fire

On Thursday, March 10 at approximately 9:05 p.m. MCFRS units responded for a report of a house fire at 18303 Aspen Dale Court in Germantown. Multiple 911 calls were received at the Emergency Communications Center indicating a fire in the garage.

Engine 722 (Germantown/Kingsview) arrived on scene and reported heavy fire coming from the garage of a large two-story, single family home with extension into the attic area and flames in close proximity to a neighboring home. In addition, several cars were on fire in the driveway.

A Task Force assignment was requested by Engine 722 and initial hose lines were placed for an exterior attack and to protect the neighbor’s home. At one point a collapse of the room above the garage occurred along with a brick wall of the garage and portions of the roof. Heavy streams and eventually an interior attack were initiated before the fire was contained.

Family members, five in total, stated that they were in the house when the smoke alarms alerted them to the fire and were able to escape along with their two dogs.

Fire Investigations believe the fire originated in the garage but the exact cause is undetermined at this time.

Damages are estimated at $750,000.00 for the structure and vehicles and $150,000.00 for the contents. There was also $75,000.00 in damages (heat related) to a neighboring home. One firefighter was transported to an area hospital for a checkup. The occupants of the home and the neighboring home were displaced as a result of the damage.

Fire Chief Scott Goldstein wants to remind all Montgomery County residents that working smoke alarms save lives! LEARN MORE HERE.

Aspen Dale Court

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Gaithersburg House Fire – Two Dogs Rescued

On Wednesday, March 9 at approximately 2:30 p.m., MCFRS units were dispatched to 7 Quantum Place in Gaithersburg for the report of flames coming from the rear of a house. Units arrived on scene and reported that fire was showing from the roof a two story single family home.

Crews were able to quickly bring the fire, originating in a second floor bedroom, under control. Firefighters also rescued two family dogs who were home at the time of the fire. The family, two adults and two children, were not home at the time of the fire.

At the time of the fire a construction company was performing remodeling work on the first floor of the home.  Around 2:30 p.m. one of the workers smelled smoke and alerted his co-workers who proceeded to check the house. Eventually they made their way to the second floor and found smoke in the master bedroom after which they exited the home.

Fire Investigators were summoned and initiated a cause and origin investigation. It was determined that the fire was electrical in nature, likely associated with a ceiling fan.

During the course of operations, two firefighters sustained minor injuries and were transported to area hospitals for a checkup. Damages were estimated at $200,000.00 to the structure and $50,000.00 to the contents of the home. The family of four and their dogs were displaced as a result.

Gaithersburg House Fire – Two Dogs Rescued

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Up County Brush Fires

On Tuesday, March 8, MCFRS experienced two significant brush fires several hours apart in the Germantown and Beallsville areas of the county.

At approximately 12:30 p.m., units were dispatched to the 12800 block of Clopper Road in Germantown for a reported brush fire. Units arrived on scene to find an active brush fire which was started by an overhead power line on fire dropping down onto the grass.

A total of three engines and two brush trucks worked for approximately one and a half hours to contain and extinguish approximately three acres of grass fire.

There were no structures in any danger. No injuries were reported and there was no financial loss as a result of this fire. Photos below:

12800 block of Clopper Road

Shortly after 5 p.m. units were dispatched to the 21300 block of Big Woods Road in the Beallsville area of the County for a reported brush fire.

Arriving units found an approximately five to seven acre wild fire burning in the woods and field with one home in close proximity to the fire.

Units from Upper Montgomery Fire Station #14, Clarksburg Fire Station #35 and Hyattstown Fire Station #9 took roughly two hours to contain and extinguish the fire that involved brush and trees. Extensive overhaul work to extinguish “hot spots” was involved as well.

The fire apparently started when a 'controlled' burn got out of control and ignited surround trees and brush. No financial loss reported as the home in close proximity to the fire was saved and no damage was suffered.

More video and photos from the fire are below.

Brush Fire 21300 block of Big Woods Road

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

When 10 Years Is Too Old

Many homes in Montgomery County have smoke alarms that are too old. All smoke alarms are manufactured to last 10 years. Then they need to be replaced. Working smoke alarms can provide the critical early warning needed to save lives.

photo with smoke alarm

Monday, March 7, 2016

A New Generation: Fitness in the Firehouse

By: Lt. Marilynne E. Pabst
       Battalion 3 A Float

Across the nation, heart disease and cardiac related emergencies are the leading cause of death for firefighters. In 2015 56% of all firefighter fatalities were sudden cardiac arrest (1). In 12 years as a career firefighter I have started to see a very positive trend develop; a new generation of firefighters getting hired and focused on staying fit and healthy. As a float Lieutenant I get to travel around to different stations within Montgomery County and I see more and more shifts working out together in the morning and cooking low fat, high protein meals for dinner.

On March 5th, I was assigned to Fire Station 8 in Gaithersburg and was excited to see how many of the shift were in the weight room and encouraging each other to work out. In addition to the five firefighters doing a cardio inspired workout DVD, all three treadmills were full and two other's were focused on strength training. In total we had ten shift members engaged in physical fitness training.

We rely on each other to stay successful and safe at work, so it only makes sense that we continue to be supportive and encouraging on and off the fire ground. A shift that trains together stays strong together. Hopefully this trend will result in a lower percent of firefighters being diagnosed and dying as a result of heart disease and cardiac emergencies.

A New Generation: Fitness in the Firehouse


Saturday, March 5, 2016

MCFRS Inspects One Of Three New Ladder Trucks

This week MCFRS aerial sub-committee members traveled to Ephrata, Pennsylvania to inspect one of three new ladder trucks.

The units are Spartan ERV 100’ aerials with similar specifications to the current tractor drawn aerial's already in service in the department. These aerials are also more commonly known to the general public as the "hook and ladder" truck.

Check out the photos below. Also check out the Fire Chief’s February video for more details.

MCFRS Inspects one of three new aerials

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Partnering Up To Help Make Our Seniors Safe

MCFRS and Red Cross teamed up for a Senior Safety outreach effort yesterday. Working with Meals on Wheels, more than a dozen homes had a home fire safety evaluation. 

Smoke alarms were checked and any potential fire and/or injury hazards identified! If smoke alarms were not working, crews either installed a new alarm or battery depending on the circumstance.

More than a dozen homes are a little bit safer now than before yesterday!

photo of firefighters, red cross, and meals on wheels folks

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Answer To Last Week's Twitter Poll

Last week we asked the below question on Twitter and this blog.

The correct answer is: Once a Month. 

Congratulations to the 60% of you that got that answer right!

For those that selected once a week - we love you over-achievers! Some smoke alarm manufacturers do recommend pushing the test button on the alarm at least once a week. Nothing wrong with that answer at all as it is better to be safe than sorry!

Look for a new poll to test your fire safety knowledge soon!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Little Poll This Morning

A question we are asking on Twitter this morning? Do you know the answer?