Fourteen members of the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company will receive commendations this Thursday evening, Mar. 23, for their work last September when a building collapsed in Owings Mills with people trapped inside.

The PVFC members will receive their awards at the annual Baltimore County Fire Department commendations and awards ceremony at Loch Raven High School. Overall, more than two dozen volunteer firefighters will be recognized with commendations at the ceremony

PVFC’s Confined Space Technical rescue team, the only volunteer unit of its kind in the county, will receive a commendation for its efforts that day. Capt. Scott Goldstein of PVFC said he was extremely proud that his group and others will be honored.

“It is nice for the teams, both my folks and the other folks, to be recognized for successfully completing an unusual and technical rescue that could have easily gone the other direction,” Goldstein said.

On Sept. 9 at 3:48 p.m., the county’s rescue crews were dispatched to 123 Oakmere Rd. in Owings Mills, where part of a house under renovation had collapsed and trapped a pair of workers. The rescue teams removed the workers in about an hour, and they were flown by Maryland State Police Medevac service to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in downtown Baltimore.

Both workers survived, and Goldstein said he was proud of the work performed by the various stations in extricating them. Volunteers from Chestnut Ridge, Lutherville, Owings Mills and Reisterstown — as well as Pikesville — plus career firefighters from Randallstown, Reisterstown and Timonium, also are going to recognized for their work that day.

The teamwork involved in getting out the trapped workers is something Goldstein said proved crucial. “You had eight different groups coming together there, and we were glad to be able to help out,” he said. “Any one little thing could have gone wrong. [The success] was the result of the teamwork and cooperation – the two are alive, able to talk about it.”

Goldstein said they dealt with a building collapse and four very unstable walls, plus the roof needed to be shifted because of the kind of repairs the workers were doing. Overall, he said there were at least eight companies, plus two Medevac helicopters, and a fire surgeon on site.

Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.

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