MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Kevin O’Toole has been through unimaginable pain and suffering over the past three months. On the evening of February 24, 2012, Kevin was caught in a “fireball” that caused injury to him and six other firefighters. Kevin got the worst of it. He sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns to about 50% of his body. He has been in the Burn Unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center since then. His family, from Bethpage, New York, have been with him ever since. Friends, fellow firefighters and members of the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation have been mainstays and a source of encouragement and strength as Kevin endured surgeries and skin graphs. Recently, Kevinâ€™s spirits have been high; he has started to feel better and can see the day when he is permitted to leave the hospital and continue on his road to recovery with follow-up procedures and months of physical therapy.
It has been a tradition in the fire service that no call is complete until everyone goes home. On the day Kevin O’Toole is released from the hospital, he will board the ladder truck from the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department, the piece that Kevin was on the night he was burned. He will take the short trip back to the fire station and symbolically close the incident. He will visit with fellow firefighters at the station and than off to a good nights rest before heading back to Bethpage with his family.
Doctors have provided a potential go-home date of this Friday. We know dates and times can change, however, we are all looking forward to Friday. The exact time of discharge is not known. As soon as I know the estimated time of discharge I will let everyone know with as much lead time as possible. Kevin O’Toole, 22 years of age, will leave the hospital and make brief remarks to the media before boarding Truck 809 for a return trip to the firehouse. I ask members of the media to refrain from asking any questions about the incident itself, please, pose questions to Kevin about his condition, his family and the support he received from the hospital.
The fire the injured Kevin and six other firefighters has been declared “Arson.” Fire Investigators are still seeking information about who may be responsible. The fire occurred in a vacant home at 6404 57th Avenue in Riverdale on Friday, February 24, 2012, just after 9:00 pm. A reward is available for information leading to an arrest. We are asking for the communityâ€˜s involvement and assistance in helping to identify the person(s) responsible for setting this fire. If you have information about this incident, call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). You may also send your tips, SECURELY and ANONYMOUSLY, via TEXT MESSAGE by typing “PGPD” plus your message, and sending it from your cell phone to “CRIMES” (274637). If your information leads the capture of whoever is responsible for this crime, you may be eligible for a CASH REWARD up to $1,000.
â€¨The Prince Georgeâ€™s County Arson Tip Line will also accept information at 301-77-ARSON, or email at 77ARSON@co.pg.md.us