As commanders, fellow responders, and family members looked on, Edwards presented the firefighters with framed copies of the tribute she entered into the U.S. Congressional Record following the incident.
Bladensburg volunteer firefighters Kevin O'Toole and Ethan Sorrell, Riverdale volunteer firefighter Michael McClary, and College Park Volunteer firefighter Ari Schloss were on hand for the event. Riverdale volunteer firefighters Michael Olszewski, Roberto Ramirez, and Michael Naples were unable to attend.
In her remarks, Edwards hailed the "personal sacrifices" made by the firefighters injured in the blaze.
"They are our heroes, and I wish each of them quick and full recoveries," Edwards said. "I thank them for their service and commitment to the citizens of Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland."
On the night of Feb. 24, units responded to a report of heavy flames at 6404 57th Ave. As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze from inside, a gust of wind swept through the structure, creating "fireball-like conditions."
Seven firefighters were transported to Medstar Washington Hospital Center with burns, fractures, and other injuries. Two remained there for an extended period of time, the last of whom—Sgt. O'Toole—was finally released in late April.
Fire officials later announced that they believed the blaze was the result of arson. Investigators also found evidence of a previously unreported fire in the home next door (6402 57th Ave.).
Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, who accepted a plaque on behalf of the entire department Tuesday, said that officials were working to draw safety lessons from the incident.
"The Safety Investigation Team is conducting a detailed analysis of the circumstances surrounding this incident and these injuries," Bashoor said. "I believe that analysis will provide the basis for the fire/EMS department to make improvements that will minimize the possibility of these types of injuries occurring again."
Anyone with information about the fire or those responsible is urged to contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives at 1-888-ATF-FIRE for a reward of up to $5,000. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
Prince George's County's Crime Solvers tip line is offering a separate cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the capture of the alleged fugitive(s) responsible for February's fire. Contact 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) to speak to county officials.