The officers and members of the Ritchie Volunteer Fire Department are sadden to learn of the passing of Donald (Patch) Aker Jr. Patch wasn’t just the President of Kentland VFD, but to many of the members here at Ritchie, he was also a friend and coworker. He was a Co-worker to some of our members who worked along side of him at Prince George’s County Public Safety Communication Center, and a friend to other members from our station while attending training together and during the “after hours” events in Ocean City and locally. As with what has been stated repeatedly in emails and on social media, he was a friend to the fire service in general. He always seemed to be able to keep a level head and always had a positive attitude no matter the situation. He will be missed by all who have had the pleasure of meeting him and we are keeping his family, Kentland VFD Companies 33 and 46, and the PG PSCC employees in our thoughts and prayers as these groups of people deal with this tragic loss. May you now rest in eternal peace and as they always say “We’ve got it from here Brother!”
Here is the official release from Kentland VFD:
It is with the heaviest of hearts and the deepest of sympathies that the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., Companies 33 and 46 announce the untimely passing of Corporation President/Firefighter Donald I. (Patch”) Aker, Jr. For the past year and a half, President Aker valiantly battled esophageal cancer. He lost that battle this afternoon while receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins University Hospital – Bayview Medical Center.
“Patch” as he was known throughout the fire service joined the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., Company 33, in September of 1998. He received his “Life Member” status in the same month of 2008. During his continuous, uninterrupted service at Company 33, he attained the rank of Lieutenant and served in the prestigious position of Corporation President since 2008. Prior to being a member of the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., he was a member of the West Lanham Hills VFD, Company 28 and a member of the Prince George’s County Fire Department’s “High School Cadet” program. He was a life long resident of Prince George’s County, Maryland, growing-up in New Carollton, attending Parkdale High School and currently resided in the City of Bowie.
For nearly 20-years, he worked as a dedicated employee with the Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications. Serving in capacities as an Emergency Call Taker, Police Department Dispatcher, Fire Department Dispatcher and Training Director.
As of the writing of this, arrangements are being planned and will be distributed to the public once they are available. The leadership of the department (KVFD) has established an “Incident Command” style of funeral management and will be coordinating all events, information exchange, etc.
We ask that everyone keep the family, friends, co-wokers and fellow firemen of President Aker in your thoughts and prayers. This is a deep loss for not only the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., but the fire service as a whole.
Kentland Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
Companies 33 and 46
With an unusually busy Sunday already in the books, company 37 took in a working house fire in District Heights to end out the day. Just before 20:00 hrs, the tones were dropped for the reported house on fire on Walters Place in company 26′s area, bringing Truck 37 with 6 volunteers as the second due special service. Upon arrival, company 26 reported a two story single family dwelling with heavy fire from the second floor of the home. Truck 37 arrived as dispatched and split into an outside and inside crew with the exterior crew throwing ladders and clearing out windows, while the interior crew conducted searches and checked for extension. All searches proved to be negative with bulk of the fire being contained to the room of origin.
Fire photo courtesy of @PGFDPHOTOSE
After clearing a reported building fire in company 8′s area that proved negative, the truck was placed on yet another box alarm in the Clinton area. Communications alerted Truck 837 to the reported house on fire in Company 25′s area as the first due special service. Responding units were notified of multiple calls coming in from neighbors reporting smoke from the house, and fire from the roof. The first unit on scene gave a size up of a two story, single family home, with fire showing from the roof. Truck 37 was advised to head to the main fire floor upon arrival, where we were instructed to help the first arriving engine companies. The truck arrived as dispatched, and assumed our given responsibilities. The origin of the fire was determined to be in the kitchen, which then spread into the attic and through the roof. There was a heat related injury to a firefighter, and a family dog perished. The truck operated for 2 1/2 hours before returning to service.
Photos courtesy of @PGFDPHOTOSE
Just after 1400 hours, Truck 37 was dispatched,along with units from the 3rd Battalion, to the 2900 block of Sunset Lane in Company 27′s (Morningside) 1st due. Engine Company 26 (District Heights) was first to arrive to find heavy smoke and fire showing from a detached garage to the rear of a house. Upon arrival of Truck 37, Engine 26′s Officer advised that there was possible extension to the house. Truck 37 was given the task of opening up Side C of the house to check for any extension. The crew reported to their assigned position and opened up the Charlie/Delta corner where fire extension proved to be negative. The crew also removed a portion of the wood deck that was burning. Command scaled the incident back to Engine 26 and Truck 37 to wait on Investigators. The Ladder Truck returned to service just after 1530 hours.
With the last call being run around 12:30 am, the unusual quiet at the station was finally broken. Around 4:30pm, company 37 was alerted to the house on fire in Company 29’s area. Truck 37 headed out with 4 volunteers as the 2nd due special service. While in route, communications started getting multiple calls of something on fire in the area of Fairlawn St. Engine 829 arrived on scene and reported a 1 story single family home with fire showing from the roof. Truck 37 arrived as dispatched and split into an interior and exterior crew. The outside crew threw ladders to the Charlie and Delta side of the structure, while the interior began their searches, (proved negative) and began to open up for the engine companies. Crews inside the structure encountered fire on the second floor that extended into the knee walls. The bulk of the fire was knocked within 15 minutes after opening up inside the structure. Truck 37 operated for an hour and a half before returning to service.
While the Truck and the A Chief were finishing up on a fire in Company 46′s area, transfer companies along with companies clearing the fire noticed a large column of smoke just inside the beltway. Chief 37A was able to clear the fire in 46′s area to respond on the first due box. Shortly prior to the arrival of the A Chief the engine from 38 went on the scene with smoke and fire showing requesting a second alarm. First alarm units began setting up for heavy duty operations while also trying to determine what was on fire. It was determined that a storage yard full of roofing materials(foam, shingles, tar paper and tar pots) that were on fire along with a large storage type building. The fire was threatening a occupied building on side delta that was a separate business. Units took positions around this building in case there was extension. This is were the Rescue Engine from Kentland and the Engine from West Lanham Hills were positioned along with Truck 37 and Tower 20. At some point the burning materials turned into a burning flow similar to lava, which made its way towards the delta exposure where the units from 28 and 33 were positioned. The crews were able to keep the fire from extending to the building, unfortunately the apparatus were not as lucky. Thankfully all personnel escaped with only a couple minor injuries. The incident grew to three plus alarms including foam units.
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Just as dinner was being prepared PSC dropped the box for 3913 Southern Ave. in Company 17′s area for the reported apartment fire. First arriving units reported smoke showing from side A of the building. Truck 37 dispatched as the second due truck took a position on side C and had fire showing from a terrace level apartment. The crew split and went to work, the outside crew laddered the building and vented, while the inside crew searched the floor above and top floor along with checking for extension. Once the fire was knocked the crew helped overhaul the fire apartment and assisted investigations. The Truck returned to service about an hour and half later.
Just as the day was getting started a box was dispatched for the 6500 blk of Clayton Ln in company 27′s area for the reported house fire. First arriving units reported smoke showing from a one story single family home. Upon entering the house crews realized they had a basement fire. Truck 37 dispatched and arrived as the second due truck. The crew went to work laddering side C of the home, while also conducting a search on division 1 and checking for extension. The truck remained on the scene for about 40 mins before returning to service.