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Mayor Gray celebrates opening of Engine Company 28 newly renovated fire station

Firemen risk their bodies and their lives to put out a fire in D.C.
Firemen risk their bodies and their lives to put out a fire in D.C.
Photo by Vito Maggiolo

On Friday January 17, 2014, Mayor Vincent Gray; Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander, Jr.; Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS) Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe; and Department of General Services (DGS) Deputy Director of Capital Construction Services June Locker will officially cut the ribbon to open the newly renovated Engine Company 28 fire station in Cleveland Park. The ceremony will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the fire station on 3522 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., in the District of Columbia.

FEMS has implemented a capital program for the modernization of several of its stations to replace the deteriorated HVAC, structural and electrical components, and architectural features at various station houses. The $4.7 million renovation project at Engine Company 28 included widening the fire station’s bay doors to provide easier entry for emergency vehicles while also maintaining the building’s historic features. The new equipment will serve to enhance the safety of the neighborhood.

A fire does not care if you are black or white, Protestant or Catholic, Republican or Democrat, man or woman, gay or straight. A fire will burn you to death. Fire Chief Barry Anderson once said that the public generally does not appreciate the hard work and dedication of firefighters until their house is burning down. It is a perfect quote for the events that took place across the nation last week. One of the greatest fires in the area took place in Anne Arundel County in 1956 because there was only one way out as exits were chained shut. Hundreds of people were injured in that fire and 11 people lost their lives.

All area volunteer fire departments need volunteers. Chief Pete Mellits who serves at the President of the Eastern Division International Association of Fire Chiefs which covers New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, DC and Delaware is also the Fire Marshal for the fifth largest city in Maryland said the number one cause of house fires is the Kitchen with heating and cooling equipment being a close second. Smoking materials are the greatest heat source, being a contributing factor to the cause of residential house fires.

“I joined the fire service in order to give something back to my community,” Mellits said. Having served as the Chief Officer in Bowie for 17 years, the Fire Marshal has a wealth of experience in what it takes to save lives when a fire tragedy strikes. “When a fire occurs it is generally a child or the elderly who are unable to get out,” the fire chief said.

If you want to serve your community as a volunteer firefighter contact or stop in and visit your local fire station or email Chief Pete Mellits at He is waiting to hear from you. D.C. residents are encouraged to come out to see the newest renovated fire station in the District of Columbia.

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