FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA HONOR FIRE DEPARTMENT HEROES AT MEDAL DAY
42 Firefighters, Officers and Marshals Awarded Medals for Bravery in the Line of Duty in 2003
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over the annual Fire Department (FDNY) Medal Day Ceremony. The event honors firefighters, officers, marshals and fire companies that have gone above and beyond the call of duty, displaying courage under the most extreme conditions to help save lives. Forty-two members and companies received medals today at the ceremony held on the steps of City Hall. Today’s Medal Day Ceremony was the first to be held outside City Hall since 2001.
“It is an honor to once again join New York’s Bravest on Medal Day,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Day in and day out, members of the FDNY show extraordinary courage by putting their lives on the line. Today we recognize those that have exhibited heroism above and beyond the call of duty. I want to congratulate those receiving medals today, and to thank all members of the FDNY for their unwavering bravery and dedication.”
“All of today’s medal winners have displayed enormous devotion, strength and expertise under great peril,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “They have placed themselves in great physical danger at fires, water emergencies, trench rescues and collapses in order to facilitate the safe rescue of those in need. These acts of selflessness define what it means to be a part of New York’s Bravest, and today we honor the bravest of the brave.”
The day’s top award, the James Gordon Bennett Medal, was given to Firefighter James Mills of Ladder Company 176. Firefighter Mills, along with members of Ladder 176, responded to a fire in Brooklyn at 1636 Pitkin Avenue on March 4, 2003. Roughly 20 minutes into the job, a “mayday” was transmitted and Firefighter Mills entered a cellar of the fire building. He began his search without the protection of a hoseline and successfully located and rescued a fellow firefighter who was found unconscious and face down in a pool of water. The firefighter was transported to an area hospital in stable condition due to the quick work of Firefighter Mills.
Ladder Company 106 was honored today for their bravery during the last year’s blackout when the FDNY has faced some of the most extreme conditions in recent history. Members of Ladder 106 responded to a top-floor fire at 147 Guernsey Street just after 1:00 a.m. on August 15th. Because of the heavy fire activity throughout the borough, they were the only unit available to respond at that time. The members of Ladder Company 106 entered the fire building and successfully rescued four civilians without the protection of a hoseline.
Two FDNY Fire Marshals were also honored today for their excellent work in two separate arson-for-profit scams. Supervising Fire Marshal John David Lynn posed undercover as a corrupt marshal in a $100 million insurance scheme. During the scam, a bribe of $100,000 was offered to Lynn in return for the cause of a fire to be changed from incendiary to accidental. Eight men were arrested and are currently awaiting trial.
Fire Marshal Bernard Santangelo, assigned to the Joint Arson Task Force, received a medal for his diligent investigation into a string of fires in Brooklyn at 50 Wallabout Street over a six-year period. The investigation yielded the arrest of two men charged with eight criminal charges, including arson, money laundering and insurance fraud.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY)
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