Fire That Injured Seven Maryland Firefighters Labeled as Arson

22-year-old Kevin O'Toole is still in critical, but stable condition.
KRISTIN FISHER, WUSA Published Thursday, March 1, 2012

RIVERDALE, Md. (WUSA) - The Riverdale Heights house fire last Friday that sent seven firefighters to the hospital was the work of an arsonist, announced Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor on Wednesday.  Investigators have also determined that an unreported fire a few weeks ago at the home next door is also arson, and they believe the two incidents are related.

FFN: Wind-Driven House Fire Injures Seven Maryland Firefighters

"This cowardly crime is unconscionable to me," said Chief Bashoor.  "We will leave no stone unturned to bring anyone responsible for this to justice."

Six firefighters have been released from the hospital, including 21-year-old Ethan Sorrell who sustained severe burns to his airways.  His charred radio sat front and center at Wednesday's press conference.  22-year-old Kevin O'Toole is still in critical, but stable condition with second and third degree burns over half of his body.

"O'Toole will likely remain in the hospital for many weeks and for many months of physical therapy after that," said Chief Bashoor.

Investigators are still trying to determine if his injuries were caused by a person, several people, or maybe even a serial arsonist.  They're already investigating two arsons on the same street, but they're also looking into the possibility that the same party could be responsible for starting other fires in the Riverdale Heights neighborhood.

"Traditionally, we have found that if someone does it once, they will likely do it again," said David Cheplak with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

"I want to say to those that are responsible that you can be assured that you will be apprehended, thereafter you will be be arrested, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Angela Alsobrooks, State's Attorney for Prince George's County

 Fire investigators say they're convinced that someone saw something.  If you know anything about the Riverdale Heights fires, please call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Comment Now: Post Your Thoughts & Comments on This Story


Fire official display the radio (left) firefighter Ethan Sorrell was wearing during the Riverdale fire with a similar, undamaged one. (Billy McNeel photo)

Fire That Injured Seven Maryland Firefighters Labeled as Arson

22-year-old Kevin O'Toole is still in critical, but stable condition.
Fire official display the radio (left) firefighter Ethan Sorrell was wearing during the Riverdale fire with a similar, undamaged one. (Billy McNeel photo)

Wind-Driven Fire Injures Maryland Firefighters at House Fire


Prince George’s County firefighters injured during the initial attack.


Investigation in Maryland Fire That Injured Seven Firefighters


Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor provides update on critically injured firefighters.


Burned Maryland Firefighters Face Lengthy Recovery Process


O’Toole has burns over 40% of his body; Sorrell has respiratory burns.


Maryland Firefighters Recover from Weekend House Fire Injuries


Maryland lieutenant looks to return to duty after recovering from injuries.