OXON HILL, MD – In Prince George’s County, the firefighters union president and the fire chief are sounding an alarm because someone has been damaging the safety equipment belonging to the career medics and firefighters at the Glassmanor-Oxon Hill Firehouse.
“Our turnout gear is our lifeline,” firefighters union president Andrew Pantelis says. “The frequency and severity of the escalation is very alarming to our members and we feel that it’s an unsafe working condition for our members to continue operating in that environment.”
The incidents started last November when a crew returned from a call and found what they believed to be a marijuana haze in the firehouse. After that, firefighters’ cars were stolen and there have been several instances where firefighters’ protective gear was intentionally burned.
The damage to the safety gear was so bad it had to be thrown out.
Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor is now reacting in a video distributed to the department, blasting the notion that a firefighter would damage the gear of another.
“However unfathomable it may be, it has occurred multiple times and I assure you it will not be tolerated,” Bashoor says in the video.
A full investigation by both police and the fire department is now underway. And while there is a long history in the department of rivalry, even fights between volunteers and paid career firefighters, no suspect has yet been named.