Prince George's County fire chief honors Pepco crew for battling blaze

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Local,DC,Maryland,Prince Georges County,April Burbank

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor honored nine Pepco employees for fighting a house fire that could have endangered the life of a young child last October.

On Friday, the employees received the Fire Chief's Award, which recognizes citizens who do something extraordinary that makes a difference for someone else's life or property, according to fire department spokesman Mark Brady. The Pepco crew was also honored last year by the Prince George's County Council and by the company itself.

A crew from the utility company was extending power lines from the roadway to a house in rural Upper Marlboro, Md., when it heard the house's smoke alarm and noticed a small fire in the kitchen. Several workers entered the house and used a fire extinguisher to reduce the blaze, while others ran to the end of the home's long driveway to alert the resident, who retrieved a 3-year-old child sleeping upstairs.

Had the Pepco employees not acted quickly to contain the fire, the toddler might have been in danger, Brady said.

"It would have continued to grow in intensity to the point where you would have needed to be a firefighter to go in and put that fire out," he said.

Having eliminated most of the fire, the employees waited with the homeowner until firefighters arrived -- and then they went back to work.

Ryan Callahan, one of the Pepco linemen who entered the home to extinguish the fire, said he was happy that Pepco received positive attention from the community, especially since that recognition came from the fire department.

"Those are people who do jobs like that day in and day out," Callahan said. "For them to call on us to say that we did a good job, that feels really good."

At the recognition ceremony Friday, Pepco donated to the fire department 700 smoke alarms and 30 smoke alarms for the hearing-impaired, continuing an annual practice. The donation coincided with a current PGFD campaign to ensure that people have working smoke alarms in their homes.

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April Burbank

Special to the Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner