It took eleven minutes for Prince George's County Firefighters to respond to a house fire on Wakefield Lane in Bowie Sunday night, and neighbors ended up controlling the fire with a garden hose and a fire extinguisher until firefighters were able to take over. When the first two firefighters did arrive, their rules of engagement didn't allow them to work on the fire because there were not enough firefighters present. How crazy! Budget cuts are being blamed for the inadequate response, and the homeowner is thanking his neighbors for saving his house. Additional details can be found at ABC7, FOX5 and firehouse.com, and there is an active series of comments on another blog.
The incident was captured in the Bowie Blade's weekly fire call log with no mention of the response time. It's hard to understand how the hometown paper can miss a story that catches the eye of ABC7 and FOX5. Perhaps this is yet another result of budget cuts. In the Blade's defense, it looks like the local TV stations didn't pick up the story until after the paper's Thursday deadline, even though the fire occurred Sunday night.
The other major Bowie story concerns the death of Brian Gray - a University of Maryland student who was killed on Belair Drive in an accident caused by a speeding Prince George's County Police officer. Yesterday, a jury awarded his mother $4 million in her civil suit against the county and the police officer - Cpl. Mario Chavez. Additional details are available in a Washington Post article. The Bowie Blade also covered the trial, but the civil award was made after the deadline for this week's paper.