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College Park, Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights File Restraining Order to Halt Fire Personnel Reassignment

Today, the City of College Park, alongside Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights, filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Prince George’s County’s Fire Staffing Reallocation Plan. This plan would reassign career personnel from Fire/EMS Stations 814 Berwyn Heights and 835 Greenbelt, putting the safety of our residents, businesses, and fire/EMS personnel at risk. Despite raising our concerns, no changes were made. We filed the TRO to allow more time for discussions and a resolution before the plan takes effect on July 1, 2024. Irrespective of the outcome, we will continue advocating for changes to protect our community. 🚒

College Park Blaze Leaves One Dead, Response Efforts Praised

In the early hours of Saturday morning, a devastating fire swept through a single-family home in Prince George’s County, Maryland, leading to the tragic death of one man and displacing four adults.

Firefighters responded to the blaze on the 3500 block of De Pauw Place in College Park shortly after 5:15 a.m. Upon arrival, they were met with a well-advanced fire, indicating that it had been burning for some time before emergency services were alerted. The inferno had already caused significant damage to the structure, making the rescue efforts challenging.

Branchville & Berwyn Heights Fire Department crews were among the first on the scene. They quickly positioned themselves in front of the house, with ladders up, water flowing, and initiated an interior search for residents and their pets. Their prompt and brave actions were crucial in managing the fire and attempting to rescue those inside.

Officials reported that one man, whose identity has not yet been released, was found in critical condition. He was rushed to a nearby hospital by first responders but sadly succumbed to his injuries later that day. Another resident sustained minor injuries and is currently receiving treatment.

The fire has left four adults without a home, adding to the tragedy of the event. The immediate needs of these individuals are being addressed as they cope with the aftermath of the fire and the loss of their fellow resident.

The Prince George’s County Fire Department was assisted by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, showcasing the collaborative effort of local fire departments in times of crisis. Their combined efforts were crucial in managing the fire and preventing further loss of life and property.

We want to thank the firefighters at Branchville, Berwyn Heights, and other fire departments for their swift and courageous response to this tragic incident in College Park Woods. Their dedication and bravery are deeply appreciated by the community.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire investigators are working diligently to determine what sparked the blaze, aiming to provide answers to the affected families and to prevent similar incidents in the future.

On a related note, the City has been closely monitoring the recent announcements of service cuts at the Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights fire departments. These service cuts will negatively impact fire-related responses in College Park, raising concerns about future incidents and the ability to respond promptly and effectively.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of house fires. As investigators work to uncover the cause, the community’s thoughts are with the victims and their families. It is a time for unity, support, and vigilance to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.

For those looking to help, local aid organizations are accepting donations and volunteers to assist those affected by this tragic event.

[Source : WTop]

Prince George’s County Fire Department Announces Staffing Cut

In response to “critical staffing shortages,” Prince George’s County Fire Chief Tiffany Green has announced a strategic plan to reassign career firefighters from four firehouses to other locations. This decision aims to alleviate the strain caused by excessive overtime and reduce burnout among personnel.

Chief Green communicated this plan through an internal memo in early June. In her letter to fire department personnel, obtained by 7News, she highlighted the negative impact of last year’s excessive mandatory callbacks and holdovers on staff. Despite efforts to increase staffing, short-term solutions are necessary to address these ongoing issues during the peak leave season.

The firehouses affected by this reassignment include Bunker Hill, Greenbelt, Bowie-Belair, and Berwyn Heights. Chief Green assured that the department would collaborate with the volunteer leadership of these stations and coordinate with surrounding stations to maintain emergency services.

“I understand that this temporary change to our staffing model is challenging for everyone,” Green wrote in her letter. “However, it is extremely necessary to balance our ability to provide efficient and effective emergency service delivery to our communities with reducing the significant burden of unsustainable mandatory holdovers and callbacks on our personnel.”

Starting at the end of the month, approximately 56 daywork and shiftwork personnel will be impacted by this change.

In response to this plan, a meeting was held yesterday at 7 p.m. at the Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department. The meeting saw attendance from members of the town council, county council, volunteers, and fire officials, who discussed the implications and logistics of the staffing adjustments.

For more details, you can refer to the original 7News report.

Man Arrested in Arson Case in North College Park

According to the Prince George’s Fire Department, a man was arrested for setting fire to a North College Park commercial strip center early yesterday morning. Just before 2:00 am, Friday, December 14th, firefighters arrived at the scene of a 1-story commercial structure that several businesses occupy in the 10000 block of Rhode Island Avenue. Units arrived to find fire showing from a middle of the row business. The well-advanced fire extended to attached businesses on both sides before being extinguished.

The building of origin is a mental health facility going by the name of “On Our Own”.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported. Personnel form the Fire/EMS Department Office of the Fire Marshal determined the fire was incendiary in nature. Fire loss was estimated at $250,000.

Shortly after firefighters arrived on the scene a suspect was identified and taken into custody by law enforcement officials.
The suspect, Paul Franklin Willis 3rd (DOB 01/24/1981) of no fixed address, has been charged with starting the fire at 10007 Rhode Island Avenue. Charges include:

Arson- Second Degree (Felony)
Malicious Burning- First Degree (Felony)
Malicious Burning- Second Degree (Misdemeanor)
Reckless Endangerment (Misdemeanor)
Additional charges are pending.

Fire Destroys North College Park Home, Displaces Family of Four

A family of four is displaced by a house fire yesterday morning in north College Park. The fire started at a home in the 5000 block of Muskogee Street.

Fortunately, none of the occupants (including their pet dog) were injured. City staff has contacted the family to check their wellbeings. County Emergency Management is arranging temporary housing through Red Cross. House has been secured and boarded up by insurance contractor.

New Smoke Detector Law Takes Effect Jan. 1

The new Maryland law requires people with smoke detectors that run off of 9-volt batteries to install new ones that have a 10-year lifespan.

The measure looks to prevent casualties from older fire alarms with dead batteries. Officials said homeowners will typically remove batteries to silence an alarm when its low-battery chirp begins, but often forget to put new batteries into the device. The new alarms are sealed, making them tamper-resistant, and have a “hush” feature that will temporarily silence it during a non-emergency situation.

The new alarms will automatically reset after a few minutes, and in the case of an actual fire, the silence feature will be overridden. The low-battery chirp will only sound when the alarm is reaching the end of its 10-year lifespan and needs to be replaced

College Park Fire Causes $40M Loss: Here is What We Know

Yesterday’s fire in College Park on Berwyn House Road at the Fuse complex has caused quite a bit of discussion in the community. Here is what we know and a list of questions / concerns we have. I’ll update the list as I know more:

  • The fire caused nearly $40M in damage, probably the largest in PG Fire Department’s history. This incident has been the largest suppression effort and the highest fire loss estimate in the history of the Fire/EMS Department, according to the PGFD.
  • The Fuse 47 building was slated to have about to 250 apartments, retail stores and a parking garage and was scheduled for occupancy in July 2017.
  • Fire fighters were alerted at about 9:35 am, Monday, April 24.
  • The fire started on the 6th floor of the 7 story building
  • 5 Alarms were sounded with over 200 firefighters and medics working to extinguish the fire that consumed the roof of the city block long building until mid afternoon when the fire was considered contained and under control.
  • The fire forced the relocation of 68 residents of the senior city building across the street to relocate.  Residents of the Gladys Spellman House were relocated to the College Park Community Center to avoid the smoke that filled their building.
  • Fire hoses pumped 650 gallons of water per minute for more than five hours, with the weight of the water potentially causing the building — which is currently only supported by wood — to collapse floor by floor, Brady said at the briefing.The fire took so long to control because only one ladder truck was able to access the back of the building, where the fire was located
  • The cause of the fire still unknown

The fire took so long to control because only one ladder truck was able to access the back of the building, where the fire was located. We’ll look into ways we can improve the situation so that this kind of incidents do not happen again.

That said, I want to thank many brave firefighters for doing an excellent job in bringing the fire under control.

Volunteer with Branchville Fire Fighters

Branchville Fire Department serves north College Park and runs 100% on volunteers. Unlike other neighboring fire departments, they don’t have any career fire fighters. They need our help with recruitment. Please consider volunteering and spread the word..

Come to their firehouse and learn if you have what it takes to become a Volunteer Firefighter or EMT. Members will be on hand to answer any of you questions. More here


Your Community Needs You – Consider Volunteering with Fire Departments

This website ( and video are online now for anyone interested in volunteering with any of the volunteer Fire/EMS departments in the County. The video includes interviews with volunteers from Branchville, College Park, and Berwyn Heights stations. There is a click on feature to get contact information from your station of interest. Please consider volunteering and spread the word.

Council to Discuss Staffing Issues at the Branchville Fire Department

Branchville Fire Department

In next week’s worksession, teh City Council will discuss the recent staffing issues at the Branchville Fire Volunteer Fire Department.

Recent reassignment of County Fire/EMS career staff from the Branchville VFC&RS station has resulted in that station being staffed solely by volunteers. The College Park VFD and Berwyn Heights VFD stations continue to have weekday career staffing. The County advanced life support (ALS) “medic” unit stationed at CPVFD is staffed 24/7.

Berwyn Heights, Branchville, and College Park fire stations are the three stations with first due response assignments in most of the City. These are the volunteer stations which are provided annual City support grants. Council Members have heard reports regarding the impact of staff changes on response to calls for service from the community and increased demand on adjacent stations when BVFC & RS is not available. Council has also heard of various ideas for future station relocations or

County Fire/EMS Chief Bashoor, and Volunteer Chiefs Corrigan (CPVFD), Leizear (BVFC&RS), and McCoy (BHVFD) have been invited to participate in the Council work session on 4 March 14. They will be able to provide accurate and current information to the Council regarding staffing, service demands, and future facility and staffing plans.


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