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Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio about MAYDAY Incident

In case you missed it here is the Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio Traditions Training Tuesday where we talked about the fire at #87 Herrington Drive in PG County Maryland that put my friend Danny McGown in the burn center. Listen in as those who were there go over just what went down, step by step, and hopefully it will help you prepare incase you are placed in that position, God forbid.

Listen to internet radio with fireengineeringtalkradio on Blog Talk Radio

Also, here is the Radio Transmissions from that fire:


So I had some time after this AM’s fire as I waited on morning relief to put up a blog post. No sooner had I posted the story then a text came accross my phone for a box alarm for my brothers at Kentland. 4:20 am, quiet nieghborhood, I knew it was going to be off. Moments later my relief came in and I was out, out the door and just over the DC, MD line where the 15 volunteers from Kentland went on the scene with fire showing. Although its not always my prefered method, it was nice to watch the brothers at work without being activly involved.

Here is their story from Kentland 33: 


At 0418 hours, the box alarm was transmitted for the house on fire in the area of 1410 Early Oaks Drive in Chapel Oaks, Maryland. The assignment consisted of Engine Companies 38, 8, 5 and 33, Truck Companies 33, 55 and Rescue Engine 33 (as the Squad Company). Engine Company, Squad Company and Truck Company 33 responded on the alarm with a total of 15 volunteers. Engine Company 38 was the first to arrive and reported a one-story, detached home with fire showing. Engine Company 33 was the next unit to arrive. The crew laid a secondary water supply from a hydrant at 1422 Early Oaks Lane and stretched the 250-foot pre-connect to cover side “C” of the structure. Once in position the OIC gave a detailed size-up to Fire Communications and the crew advanced into the basement to check for fire/smoke conditions. After this area of the home was cleared, the crew advanced to the first floor where they began extinguishing several rooms on fire. Truck Company and Squad Company 33 arrived simultaneously to perform the first and second due special service duties. Both crews began searches, ventilation and laddering all sides of the building. Companies spent nearly one-hour bringing this stubborn fire under control. Within an hour and a half, Command continued to hold Companies 38, 33 and 55. Volunteers from the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department operated for approx. 3 and a half hours before retuning to service. One fireman from Company 33 sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local trauma center. The Officers and Membership of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. wish him a quick recovery. 

Those We Remember: Memorial Day 2011

Enough Said

Memorial Day and it’s associated “weekend” means different things to different people. For me it has always been a combination of remembering those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as well as about remembering those that made an impact in our lives and have since passed on. My life has been blessed to have been dotted with many influential people who helped shape my ideals and my outlook on life. From a young age it was instilled in me the importance of the sacrifice of those from the past, I’m sure I used to freak my parents out when at 10 year old I would rather go to Gettysburg or out back with a medal detector then to a movie. As a new father I try to do my best to give my son those same experiences that he will hopefully draw strength from later in life. Our first stop this weekend was to the secret resting spot of the hero for which my son gets his middle name, to visit “Uncle Kirk”. To see Kirks memorial video CLICK HERE.

Rocking the Air Force Jersey at Rolling Thunder 2011

Our next stop was down to the always amazing “Rolling Thunder” to honor Americas MIA and KIA. My 3 year old was so impressed with the display that he waved steady for over an hour, not an easy feat for a son with an attention span like mine. Here is a great video showing what determination and discipline looks like.

Memorial day brought a celebration at the Land of Kent where I got the special treat of a phone call from Afghanistan. One of Kentlands lost sons, Scott Motley, was checking in from an ocean away. A few good lucks and keep your head lows and he was off to serve again along side the rest of his brothers. Off to protect our right to cook hot dogs and visit the beach on this Memorial Day “weekend”. We are thankful for Scott and the rest of his Devil Dogs.

Scott Motley - USMC

Serving over seas flag flying proudly at the Land for Scott

From there is was back to the BBQ and talks of those who are no longer with us. One of which being Mark “Mick” McKenzie, the man who took me under his wing, taught me the ropes of the special service life style, and helped me see the error in my flare covered helmet ways. Here is a little video I made awhile ago in his memory. CLICK HERE.

Almost as if Mick was listening, Rescue Engine 33, with me in the seat, got put on a Capitol Heights house fire with fire showing from the rear of the home. STORY HERE. After an hour or so of work we got to slide on back to the Kentland BBQ to finish honoring the fallen.

A different kind of Memorial Day BBQ

Its funny how when your younger you don’t quite understand the importance of certain people or their roll until their gone. There are more than a handful of people I wish I would have had more time to sit and talk with, sit and learn with. To learn about all they had done in their lives and knowledge they had to offer. One such individual was my Great-grandfather Forest “Mike” Mills, who just recently passed away in 2006. I remember his stories of serving in the engine room of the USS Enterprise during World War II, about the sounds the ship would make when an enemy bomber crashed just feet from the great carrier. I listened as a child listens, for the story and not the meaning. Little did I know until several years later that this “ship” was not just any ship, but instead the Big “E” was the most decorated ship of the entire war, fighting in some of the most famous battles in history. Battles that shaped the future of our great Nation and ensured a bright future for those left behind. I wish I had paid a little closer attention to those story’s now that he is gone.

So for those we remember, and those we wish we had more memories of, happy Memorial Day.

My Great Grandfathers first and last trip to the WWII Memorial in DC

Forest "Mike" Mills, US Navy

A View from the Tillercage: A Brief Exercise in Rhetoric

An exercise in rhetoric inspired by the writings of Matt “Maine” Hall. His recent facebook descriptions of late night ramblings from the ghetto of our home in Landover has inspired me to try my hand. Here is a late night rambling from a memorial weekend spent in the back of Truck 17.

For Maine:

Our chariot comes to a stop just shy of the entrance to the apartment complex, the heroes of “The Heights” answer the never ending call for service, this time its the ever elusive activated CO detector. I watch as my crew makes their way up the hill towards the mountain of brick and mortar known as Benning Park Apartments. Heavy eyelids give way to an unrelenting stare as i catch myself gazing longingly through the dust covered window of my tillermans perch. The iridescent hue of a lone streetlight joins with the familiar reds and blues of a passing police cruiser, together they bring identity to the darken street sign. 4900 G st. SE. My temporary inhabitancy now has a name.

The air is cool and crisp as it recoils from the recently passed storm. The night is alive with activity, people pass but seldom wave, families and felons share the sidewalk together as they stroll into the emptiness of the East End night. My thoughts drift away from this place much the same as the dreams of the areas youth, away to a place far removed from the brutal realities of “The Heights”. Thoughts of a future with manageable hours, of nights with adequate sleep, of holidays at home with family and friends. The recurring thud of a car stereo gains strength as it closes on my position, the roar of exhaust from a passing donked-out caprice jerks me back to my observatory high atop 17 truck.

My attention shifts to a conveniently placed pair of “Air Jordans” dangling from the electric line above my head, swaying gingerly in the evening breeze, beckoning to this spot those in search of a quick high to lift them from this place. My band of brothers makes their way back down the hill from the building entrance, laughing and jostling, bonded together by the experiences and the tragedies they’ve shared, forged into friends at trail by fire. They know how quickly the song can change, how that next call for service might find them staring the red devil and his fiery minions square in the face, daring my brothers to enter in protection of these same families and felons that call East End their home. This fire forcing them to rise up to their best when DC citizens are at their worst. These men, these firemen, know that only the bond of brotherhood will bring them through the flames and back alive.

I chuckle to myself as a new thought creeps into mind. These moments i will miss, this ghetto i will miss, these brothers I will miss…


On Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, Prince George’s County Maryland held its 34th annual Public Safety Luncheon to honor the County’s Police, Sheriff, Fire/EMS, Corrections and Homeland Security members. The event was hosted by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and MC’d by Wisdom Martin and Paul Wagner of Fox 5 news DC. Among the honored recipients were Joe Brown, a Volunteer Captain with the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department and Tony Kelleher, the Chief of Kentland. Joe received a Silver Medal of Valor and Tony received a Bronze Medal of Valor for there actions at an apartment fire on April 26th, 2010. 

Click here for the story from

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Was driving Truck 33 for this little thing.

Story from

At 0915 hours, box alarm 08-06 was transmitted for the townhouse on fire at 298 Possum Court. The assignment consisted of Engine Companies 8, 37, 38, 46, Truck Companies 26, 33 and Rescue Squad 6. First arriving Engine Company 8 reported a two-story, middle of the row, townhouse with smoke showing. Truck Company 33 responded on the run with a total of five volunteers. As the engine crews located a kitchen off on the first floor, Truck Company 33 arrived and split-up into two teams. The interior team initiated a search of the home and began opening-up. The outside crew placed portable ladders and ventilated. The fire was quickly contained and the assignment was scaled back quickly. Truck Company 33 was held and returned to service within one-hour. 

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Here is a good one, just got back into the station as the Rescue Engine was on the air. First Due house fire and the Rescue’s pump was busted. Brought the Mini-pumper for the fellas and they knocked her down very nicely.

Below story as seen on Kentland 33:

As early signs of tropical storm Nicole made their way through the DC Metro area, the volunteers from Kentland answered several calls aboard the Rescue Squad before heading over to Barlow Rd for fuel. As the 6th gallon made it’s way into the tank, the crew along with other units from surrounding areas were alerted for a investigation of a chimney at 2205 Matthew Henson Ave, just blocks from their location. The Rescue Squad responded with 5 volunteers and arrived to find a 1 story duplex with smoke showing from the rear and attic area, passing command. With no crew in quarters for an Engine company the Squad crew immediately worked to complete a primary search, position ladders without venting and hold the fire in check as long as possible with water cans. With the on scene report communications upgraded the assignment. Just moments later, Mini-Pumper 33 and Chief 33arrived on scene, establishing the Matthew Henson Command. Members from the Mini-Pumper and Rescue Squad 33 advanced the 1 ½ attack line from the mini-pumper into the home, knocking down all visible fire in the back rooms and porch area. With fire extending into the attic the crew worked quickly to pull ceilings and knock down any remaining fire in the space. As other units arrived they went to work opening up the roof and void spaces and deploying back up lines, stopping the fires extension. With the fire under control the assignment was scaled back to the units from Kentland to assist the investigators. After overhaul units returned to service.        

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Coming back to Kentland from a dinner out I get a text message alert for a house fire on East Forest Road. I was only a few streets away, pulled up to find the back of the house off. Got dressed in my throw down set of gear from the bed of my truck (don’t leave home without it;) ) and went in with 9 when they got there curtesy of the wagon drivers facepiece and pack. Good times.

Story from Kentland

Just before midnight, a box alarm was transmitted for the house on fire at 8403 Oglethorpe Street in East Lanham, Maryland. Engine Company and Truck Company 33 responded on that alarm with 10 volunteers. The Engine from 33 arrived to assume the 3rd due Engine Company responsibilities, laid a supply line in and staged per Command. As units were released, an additional box alarm was transmitted for 7213 East Forest Road in Company 33’s first due. Since units from 33 were still assigned to the initial box alarm, they were not originally due on the East Forest Road run. Crews quickly readied themselves and requested to respond on the first due alarm. Permission was granted and companies headed back to Kentland. Knowing that the Engine Company would be unable to arrive first, the OIC prepared to be placed 3rd due. Within minutes first arriving units reported a two-story “double” with fire in the rear. Truck Company 33 was the first arriving special service and operated accordingly. The interior crew began a search of the fire address and opened-up in the process. The outside crew placed portable ladders and ventilated sides “A” and “B”. Engine Company 33 arrived and completed the third due Engine Company responsibilities, laying a secondary supply line and advancing an attack line to the rear. Once in the rear, the crew assisted with extinguishment, checked for a basement entrance and made entry into the exposure. The crew advanced to the second floor and found extension in the roof area and pipe chase. All visible fire was knocked down within 15 minutes. Within 30 minutes, Command held Companies 33, 9 and 8. All members returned to service within two and a half hours.

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Believe it or not I was driving the Engine for this one.

Story from

As units from Kentland 33 cleared a box alarm ( 1735 hours) at 5800 Annapolis Road in Bladensburg, an additional box alarm was transmitted for the house on fire and people trapped at 11005 Mount Lubentia Way in Company 46’s area (Kentland #2). Engine Company and Chief 33 responded on the run with a total of six volunteers. Engine Company 33 was alerted as the second due Engine Company. Engine Company 46 arrived within minutes to find a two-story, detached, home with smoke showing. Chief 33 arrived as the crew was stretching an attack line and established the “Mount Lubentia Way” Command. Engine Company 33 arrived just after Truck Company 37 and secured Engine Company 46’s supply line. The crew aboard Engine Company 33 stretched the 250-foot pre-connect and proceeded in to back-up Engine Company 46. Fire was found in the kitchen area and quickly extinguished by the first due engine. Engine Company 33’s crew re-positioned their attack line to the second floor and checked for vertical extension. With negative results, Chief 33 scaled the incident back to Engine Companies 46, 33 and Truck Company 37. Volunteers from Kentland 33 returned to service within an hour.

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Driving the Rescue Squad.

Story from

Just before 0400 hours, the box alarm was transmitted for the house on fire at 7752 Burnside Road, in the Palmer Park section of Kentland. Engine Company, Truck Company and Squad Company 33 responded (first due) on the run with 14 volunteers. Initial phone calls to fire communications reported fire coming from the rear of the dispatched address. Engine Company 33, the first to arrive, reported a two-story “triple” with fire showing in the rear and their own hydrant. The crew stretched the front-bumper pre-connect and made their way into the front entrance of 7752. Upon investigation, it was found that the rear porch area was fully involved and beginning to extend to the adjoining homes. After quickly getting water, the bulk of the fire was knocked down. Truck Company 33 began to open-up the effected areas as Rescue Squad 33 performed a thorough search of the fire address. Prior to additional units arriving on the scene, Command held the incident with Company 33 units. Six residents were displaced and the Fire Investigations Bureau was alerted to the run. Kentland Volunteers operated for approx. one-hour before picking-up and returning to service.

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