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Prince George's Blaze That Injured Firefighters Was Arson

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Two firefighters were critically injured in a Riverdale, Md. blaze Friday, which officials now say was set deliberately.
Armando Trull
Two firefighters were critically injured in a Riverdale, Md. blaze Friday, which officials now say was set deliberately.

It appears the last week's blaze that injured several Prince George's County firefighters -- two critically -- was deliberately set. The Friday night fire is now being ruled arson. That's the word from Prince George's County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady.

Seven firemen were hurt when a "wind-fueled fireball" swept through the vacant Riverdale home, according to Brady. Kevin O'Toole, 22, remains in critical but stable condition in the burn unit at Washington Hospital Center. Brady says O'Toole was burned over nearly 50 percent of his body and has a long road ahead of him. He will likely spend another six weeks in the burn unit, followed by six months of physical therapy.

"They say when you're in the burn unit and you have critical burn wounds, it's a roller coaster of emotions," Brady says. O'Toole is buoyed by the support of his family, friends and fellow firefighters. "At this point, there's not a whole lot we can do other than to provide thoughts, prayers," Brady adds.

Ethan Sorrell was also critically injured in the fire, and he was released from the hospital Tuesday. Five other firemen were treated and released. Brady says they are all doing well.

 

"They're survivors and their looking forward to the day that they can go and fight fires," he says. 

While this has been a tremendous hit to the department, morale remains strong, according to the spokesman. He called the news that the fire was deliberately set "troubling."

"While we are concerned about every arson fire, this particular one has reached out and touched us personally," Brady says. "We are going to thoroughly investigate."

 

The fire department is asking for help from the public in finding out who intentionally set this fire and attempted another arson at a neighboring home. Crimesolvers can be contacted at 1-866-411-TIPS and the arson tip line is 301-77-ARSON.

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