Md. firefighters go on trial for fire scene brawl

WASHINGTON — Two volunteer firefighters are set to go on trial Monday for the 2015 assault of a career firefighter outside a burning home near Hyattsville, Maryland.

Jeffrey Miller and Christopher Kelly — both members of West Lanham Hills Volunteer Company 28 — were indicted on a charge of fighting with a career firefighter unit over who should go inside a house that was ablaze Dec. 8, 2015.

According to prosecutors, Career Company 30 arrived first at the scene of the fire, but Kelly — who was not fully geared up — blocked the door so members of the career company couldn’t enter before members of the volunteer company.

When announcing the indictment in December 2016, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Kelly and a career fighter struggled on the front porch before Kelly hit her, knocking the firefighter off the porch.

According to prosecutors, Miller grabbed the career firefighter and pulled her off the porch.

Police were called, and officers separated the fighting firefighters.

Alsobrooks called Miller and Kelly’s actions “reckless, irresponsible and uncalled for.”

Miller and Kelly were indicted on multiple counts of second-degree assault, interfering with a firefighter and misconduct in office.

Their trial in Prince George’s County Circuit Court is expected to take four days.

Editor’s note (July 26, 2021, 5:25 p.m.) — An earlier version of this story stated some Loudoun County, Virginia, students and staff would be required to wear masks. The county has not yet released detailed guidance. This story has been updated.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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