Disabled Resident Rescued by Pet and Retired PGFD Firefighter

A retired Prince George’s County Fire Lieutenant pulled a disabled female occupant out of her burning Bowie home. Just after 10:00 am firefighters were alerted to a house fire with a report of a person trapped. Fire/EMS units arrived at the 2-story single family home in the 16300 block of Pond Meadow Lane with heavy fire showing and immediately requested additional resources, a Task Force, be dispatched.

Retired Fire Lt. Mills was in the area of Pointer Ridge on his way to a store when he saw a column of smoke. He followed the smoke and after 20 years in the Fire/EMS Department he instinctively knew that the smoke he saw was from a structure on fire. He arrived at the same time as the first arriving firefighters from the Bowie Pointer Ridge Station #843. As those firefighters were donning their personal protective equipment including self contained breathing apparatus, Mills went to the rear of the house to perform a 360 check of the structure. This 360 check is a standard function for initial arriving firefighters to gain a quick assessment of fire and smoke conditions from all sides of the structure. When he entered the gated back yard he encountered a black lab that was frantically scurrying about the back yard. When the dog saw Mills, the faithful pet went immediately to the sliding glass doors on the back of the house and barked continually while looking inside. Following the dogs lead, almost as if Lassie was signaling trouble, Mills looked inside the home and saw an adult female on her knees that was unable to move any further. Knowing that the female, surrounded by thick smoke and intense heat, was in dire need of removal, Mills entered the house by going inside about 4 feet and pulled the female out and to the backyard. She had already sustained burn and smoke inhalation injuries.

Mills and former volunteer fire chief Hugh Owens, a neighborhood resident, carried the female to the front yard where medics quickly took control of the patient, treated and transported her to a Burn Unit for treatment. Thankfully, in part due to the actions of retired Fire Lieutenant Billy Mills and the family dog, her injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Firefighters made an initial entry into the home to extinguish the fire and conduct a search of the house. Due to heavy fire and hoarder’s condition inside the home, firefighters were evacuated and knocked down the bulk of the fire from the exterior of the home. Once conditions inside the home were tenable, firefighters re-entered the home to extinguish the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire loss estimates are still being established. The home is unsafe and not livable. Additional information will be updated upon arrival.

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