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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2003

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA HONOR FIRE DEPARTMENT HEROES AT FIRST MEDAL DAY SINCE 9/11

58 Firefighters, Officers and Marshals Awarded Medals for Bravery

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today honored the heroes of the New York Fire Department (FDNY) at the 2003 Medal Day Ceremony at Pace University. The ceremony honored 58 firefighters, fire officers and fire marshals for exceptional acts of bravery performed during 2002. The recipients were cited for life saving work at fires, structural collapses, arson investigations and water rescues.

“It’s a privilege to join the brave members of the FDNY for medal day,” said Mayor Bloomberg, “Each year New Yorkers are astonished by the selfless acts of the members of this department. Today we recognize those firefighter, officers and marshals for their heroic acts. Members of the FDNY cradle babies while running through burning buildings, rescue people out of impossible circumstances and turn back into fires to search for more victims. And sometimes they make the ultimate sacrifice. Today we honor to the bravest of the bravest and the members of this great department who responded to the terrible events of 9/11.”

I want to congratulate all those receiving medals today,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “You have exhibited unparalleled bravery in some of the toughest conditions imaginable. Every medal presented represents a selfless act of courage, a life saved and a firefighter that put himself in harm’s way, ensuring the safety of a stranger. Today you are recognized as the bravest of the Bravest.”

A special symbolic presentation of Medals was made at the ceremony to honor all of those who responded to the World Trade Center on and after 9/11. Three Firefighters and one member of the EMS Command were chosen to represent the more than 14,500 members of the department that took part in the response, rescue and recovery efforts. Those receiving the WTC Medals were:

  • Captain Alfredo Fuentes – representing members receiving Survivor Medals, those that were on-scene and survived the collapses.

  • Firefighter Richard Cannon – representing members receiving Rescuer Medals, those that operated on-scene after the towers collapsed until the last survivor was found on September 12, 2001.

  • Firefighter Edward Cammon – representing members receiving Campaign Medals, those that participated in the recovery effort.

  • EMS Lieutenant Rene Davila – representing all members of EMS receiving Survivor, Rescuer or Campaign Medals.

The following award winners and rescue stories were among today’s highlights:

The Dr. Harry M. Archer Medal, which is presented every three years to one of the three preceding winners of the prestigious James Gordon Bennett Medal, was presented to Battalion Chief John Pritchard. Chief Pritchard was cited for the daring rescue of an infant from its melting playpen in an apartment fire in 1998. Upon arrival at the fire, the child’s mother alerted Chief Pritchard, who at the time was the Captain of Engine Company 255, that her child was trapped in their fourth floor apartment. He radioed for Engine 255 to respond to the fourth floor and then entered the apartment. Chief Pritchard crawled to the infant’s room pushing through the intense smoke and heat to rescue the helpless child.

The James Gordon Bennett Medal, which is presented annually for the most outstanding act of bravery within the Fire Department during the last year, was awarded to Battalion Chief James Marketti of Battalion 31. Chief Marketti, who was working in Battalion 48 at the time, was coordinating interior operations on the third floor of a fire in a private dwelling in Brooklyn. Upon reaching his assigned floor, he found an unconscious 16-year old girl on the floor of a bedroom and successfully brought her to the hallway where a member of Ladder Company 157 met them and removed the victim out of the building. Chief Marketti then crawled into the same bedroom and found a second victim—a five-year old child. Using his body he shielded the child from the searing heat and handed him to another member of FDNY who took the boy out of the building for treatment. Firefighter Daniel Powers of Engine Company 250 received the Thomas E. Crimmins Medal for his rescue at the same fire.

Other honorees included four Staten Island firefighters that worked as a team in the rescue of a construction worker who was trapped in a building collapse. On May 23, 2002, Lieutenant Denis Driscoll and Firefighter Anthony Cavalieri of Rescue 5, and Firefighters Timothy McCauley and Stephen Fenley of Ladder 78 crawled through a 14-inch space to rescues an injured worker who was pinned face down in four inches of wet cement. The victim was transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital with a broken leg and chemical burns, Firefighter Cavalieri sustained chemical burns from the concrete and the other members of the rescue team were also treated for injuries and taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Contact: Ed Skyler/Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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