A supervisory civil engineer at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) Resident Office was named the Baltimore District’s Hero of the Year.
Jeffrey McMaster received his award from Col. Trey Jordan, commander and district engineer, on Sept. 16. Previously named as the District’s Hero of the Month in September 2013, McMaster earned the honors for his response during and after the August 2013 fire at the USAMRIID project. Two construction workers were taken to a Frederick hospital for examination but were released later that day.
"The fire remediation has required a lot of extra effort from everyone on the USAMRIID Project Team plus a greater group of people to accomplish this effort,” said McMaster. “Our path forward coming out of this tragic incident could only be accomplished with the combined effort of the Corps, our customer (Health Facilities Planning Agency), the contractor and Fort Detrick personnel to keep moving the USAMRIID project toward completion.”
McMaster, “displayed tremendous poise, calmness and professionalism during and after a fire on 14 August 2013 at the USAMRIID Replacement Project at Fort Detrick, Md.,” said Jordan as he read the citation at a gathering of resident office personnel. A key element noted in the citation is the rapport McMaster had established with Fort Detrick emergency response personnel that “ensured a seamless flow of information between the emergency crews, construction contractor, and USACE area office staff for important matters during and immediately after the fire. Jeff enabled and provided accurate, factual and timely reporting up the chain of command immediately after this incident as the post fire investigative work progressed. His focused, yet calm, demeanor combined with excellent decision making skills brought a sense of control amidst the chaos.”
A fire at a construction site is a very serious incident. Leaders on the installation, and throughout every level of Corps chain of command, wanted speedy and accurate information on the status of all personnel at the site and whether the fire had been extinguished.
"At the time of the fire, there were approximately 280 contractor personnel on site and all were accounted for within 15 minutes after notification to evacuate the building was given. This was an incredible response that was recognized by the Fort Detrick Emergency Services and was a direct result of drills and rehearsals performed by the contractor in conjunction with USACE. Fort Detrick Fire Department was able to completely extinguish the fire within 20 minutes of notification."