WASHINGTON — The suspension of two firefighters in Prince George’s County, Md., suggests that decades of tension and turf wars between volunteer and career firefighters continue into a new year.
The firefighters have been removed from emergency operations while an internal investigation is underway into what happened late last month at a house fire in Capitol Heights, Maryland.
A dispute occurred when Engine 826b from the mostly career-staffed District Heights station, and Engine 833 of the Kentland all-volunteer Fire Department, both responded to the Dec. 29 blaze on Larchmont Avenue, a few blocks south of Central Avenue.
A longtime industry observer details on the blog Statter911 that the dispute might have involved threats that fire hose water would be cut off to firefighters inside a burning home.
“The matter involving two firefighters remains an internal investigation into possible workplace violence,” said Mark E. Brady of the Prince George’s County Fire Department. “While there was no physical contact or altercation between the two, the investigation centers on what was said on a radio transmission.”
Past altercations between career and volunteer firefighters in Prince George’s County have escalated to the point that firefighters were charged with assault, but acquitted when the matter went to court.