"Each Other's Keeper"

Heroes Hall of Fame

Fatal Fire

Fire at 4709 40th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD that trapped 7 occupants, killing two and injuring two firefighters.

On Jan. 19, 2011, units were alerted to 4709 40th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD to a house fire with people trapped. Engine 93 (6 men) arrived seconds after Engine 55 with fire showing from the entire front of the house. The crew from 93 and Truck 1 were the first units to push in and start rescue efforts. Once inside, the lineman knocked down two rooms, while the OIC Schultz and back-up man Mummaw located one of the trapped occupants. The patient was removed to side "A" of the house where members from several departments, including Bladensburg Engine 9 and Ambulance 9, started medical care.

Engine 92 (6 men) and Engine 94 (using Engine 72 with 5 men) stretched additional lines to both divisions to assist knocking the fire. Engine 94 was making its way to division 2, when passed by Truck Company 1, who located the second trapped occupant. This patient was removed to side "C" and Ambulance 99 started patient care. It took around 30 minutes to bring the fire under control.

A total of 7 occupants were transported to various hospitals for care. Unfortunately, the 9-year-old girl succumbed from her injuries at the hospital. The 13-year-old later succumbed to her wounds at Baltimore Shock Trauma center.

Chief 9B had the 40th Avenue Command. Chief 9 assisted at the Command post during the incident. Company 9 cleared the scene.

Suspect Shoots

On Oct. 10, 2011, Officers Frank Garmback, Brendan Russell, and Renee Collins responded to a call, a man robbed at gunpoint in Cleveland, OH.

As officers arrived, they spotted the suspect running from the scene. While the officers were chasing him, the 29-year-old suspect fired shots at police. Officer Garmback returned fire as the chase stretched through several yards.

When the man was finally arrested, officers noticed he had been shot in his left wrist. The man was taken to Metro Health Medical Center to be treated for his injury, police said. Authorities recovered a .38 caliber revolver from the scene.

The suspect was charged with assault of a police officer and aggravated robbery.

Lightning Strikes

On Aug. 21, 2011, Police Officer Richard Strunk and Police Officer Charles Judd of the Cleveland Police Department were flagged down and told that a nearby house had been struck by lightning and was on fire. There was a woman and three children asleep inside the home. Without any thought of their own safety, the officers ran into the smoke-filled house and rescued the owner and three children along with the dog.

Officers Strunk and Judd's quick actions and disregard for their own safety saved the lives of the family and their pet.

Fire-Ground Operations

On Feb. 9, 2011, members of the Atlanta Fire and Rescue, 4th Battalion were dispatched to 4633 Tuscan Trail SW, to a reported structure fire with confirmed entrapment of an elderly victim who was confined to his bed.

Engine 31
arrived on scene first and reported heavy fire involvement on a one-story, frame, single-family dwelling and advised that bystanders confirmed entrapment of an elderly gentleman who was confined to his bed and identified the location of the victim's bedroom as being on the Charlie/Delta corner. Engine 31 proceeded to lay a 1.75-inch cross lay to the front door while the OIC conducted a size-up (360). The size-up was completed and the water source secured, simultaneously. The driver of Engine 31 took a ladder to the Delta side of the structure and climbed to the window identified by bystanders, as Engine 31 began an attack through the front door. At this point, Engine 5 and Truck 31 arrived on the scene and Engine 5 entered the structure on the Delta side of the structure and was able to locate the victim and bring him to the window. Truck 31 was preparing to enter when Engine 5 arrived with the victim and maneuvered him through the window, where Truck 31 carried him down the ladder.

As the extrication was under way, the driver of Engine 5 had brought the appropriate EMS equipment to the front yard and care was immediately provided to the patient, who was unconscious and breathing on his own. Patient care was provided by Engine 5, until it was transferred to Georgia EMS 7274. While the rescue was under way, the fire attack was supported by Truck 14. While the roof team affected vertical ventilation, the entry team entered the structure to assist and perform a primary search.

Truck 25 was assigned to the interior to support the fire attack and the officer in charge was designated as the interior division. While conditions improved frantically on the main floor of the structure, heavy fire conditions remained in the attic. With crews operating within the structure, and reports of an additional victim, Truck 31 was assigned to check the basement, perform a primary search and insure that there was no drop down fire. Engine 25 functioned as rapid intervention team and as directed, placed an additional two lines (1.75 in) on the ground. Primary search was negative and Command was able to confirm that all occupants were accounted for. Interior reported that the attic had been floored out with plywood and there was a significant amount of contents stored in the attic. Fire was extinguished and operations slowed to allow for the investigators to conduct their investigation as to fire cause. At this point, the resources were downgraded to Engine 31, Truck 31, and Truck 25, with Command being transferred to Truck 31 for final overhaul operations.

Car Ablaze

On Jan. 8, 2012, there was a two-car major crash in Brazoria County, Texas. After having a head-on collision, one of the vehicles rolled several times, coming to rest on the passenger side with the driver suspended, hanging on only by a seat belt. The other vehicle spun several times and came to rest facing the opposite direction in which it was traveling.

Lt. Michael Villareal, along with his wife, sister and children were traveling eastbound on the same road and were the first to arrive on scene. Without hesitation, Lt. Villareal had his wife call 911 and he immediately checked on the crashed vehicles and their occupants. Lt. Villareal found Jose Gabriel Ramirez-Esquivel hanging by his seat belt and noted that he was still alive. Suddenly, Lt. Villareal observed a flame ignite from Ramirez-Esquivel's car. Fearing for the safety of Ramirez-Esquivel's life, Lt. Villareal with no regard for his own life, cut the seat belt, freeing Ramirez-Esquivel from the vehicle and physically carried him a safe distance from the crash scene. Ramirez-Esquivel's vehicle became fully engulfed in flames. Without the heroic actions displayed by Lt. Villareal, Ramirez-Esquivel would have, without a doubt, died as result of the fire.

Cab Driver at Gun Point

L-R: ABM - Director David Lentz, Detective Gus James NOPD, 3rd Dist. Commander John Thomas NOPD..

On Nov. 27, 2011, Detective Gus James, assigned to the Frenchman Street walking beat during the Bayou Classic, observed a white taxi cab at the intersection of Frenchmen and Charters Street pull over to let passengers out. A pickup truck pulled up behind the cab trying to get around the cab. The driver of the truck, pulled up beside the cab and began yelling.

Det. James began to approach the vehicles to have them move along, just as the pickup truck began to pull away. Det. James observes the truck hit the cab; the vehicles shook from the collision. The driver of the truck got out of his vehicle and began to run at the cab with what appeared to be a flashlight. The driver of the truck was yelling at the cab driver while shining the light in his face.

As Det. James approached the cab from behind he recognized that the flashlight was attached to a Glock handgun; the driver of the cab was being held at gun point. Det. James took swift action in approaching the subject. His service weapon drawn, James ordered the subject to drop his weapon. The subject didn't respond or drop his weapon. Det. James then swiftly ripped the gun from the subject's hands. After the gunman was handcuffed, another Glock handgun was found strapped to the subject's leg. Det. James' quick actions led to the apprehension of an armed suspect, without harm to the suspect, the victim, or himself.



Sound Save

On July 22, 2012, Stamford Connecticut Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a boat in distress in Stamford Harbor off Saddle Rock Road.

While responding to the accident site, it was reported that there were two victims on top of the overturned boat with possibly three victims trapped.

Upon arrival, Stamford Fire and Rescue found one boat of Oyster Bay Police Department tied to the capsized boat. Oyster Bay Police Department had taken on the two victims that were on top of the overturned boat. They had also made contact with victims under the boat by tapping on the hull and receiving replies of the same. First swimmer, FF Jamie DeFelice, entered the water in dry suit/fins and mask only, attempted to make contact with trapped victims and assess other hazards present for divers. Stamford Police boat returned to the dock for additional gear and to transport medics to dive site.

First diver, FF Joseph Maida entered the water and made initial contact with the victims and determined that a pony bottle and regulator would aid in the victims rescue. The first attempt was to rescue the female victim, but she initially refused to leave the air pocket in the cabin under the overturned boat. FF John Lockwood entered the water to assist because of a mechanical failure (leaking BC) and was unable to continue to dive. Third diver, FF William O'Connell, also entered the water to assist FF Maida. After several attempts, they were able to guide the male victim to the surface and to the recovery boat. FF O'Connell made additional dives under the boat to pull the remaining female to the surface, during which time he suffered a laceration to his left hand and was transported with victims to shore and treated at Stamford ER. Police Officer and Diver, Daniel Ehret of the Darien Police Department was also a critical part of assisting during the rescue and recovery. Unfortunately, the fifth person of this accident died and his body was recovered 13 hours later. Keith Morris, the fifth victim, was the boat owner and also an active-duty firefighter of the New Rochelle New York Fire Department.

Fire fighters, Jospeh Maida and William O'Connell of the Stanford Fire and Rescue Department and PO Daniel Ehret are being awarded the Heroes Hall of Fame Award for their rescue and diving efforts.

The Stamford Fire and Rescue Department's Deputy Chief Trevor Roach, Captain Donald Mitchell, Lieutenant James Kravchuk, Acting Lieutenant Thomas Gibbons, FF John Lockwood, FF Michael Allegrini, FF Jamie DeFelice, FF Daniel Hickman, FF Allan Byrne, and FF Richard Comerford are being awarded with Meritorious Service Awards for their efforts in making the rescue operation successful. The Stamford Police Department's Sergeant Peter Wolff, Sergeant Robert Monck, PO Donald Walters, PO William Fox, and PO Robert Johnson along with the Darien Police Department's Detective Mark Capelli and PO Derek Mulcahy as well as The Oyster Bay Police Department's Bay Constable Christopher Brigg and Bay Constable Edward Toscano were also awarded Meritorious Service Awards for their support in the rescue of four victims and the recovery of an additional victim.

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