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PR- 210-05
June 1, 2005


42 Fire Department Members Awarded Medals for Bravery in the Line of Duty in 2004

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided over the annual Fire Department (FDNY) Medal Day Ceremony.  The event honors firefighters, fire officers, fire 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. 

“It is an honor to once again stand with members of the greatest Fire Department in the world to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Every day, New York’s Bravest put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. Today’s firefighters are meeting great challenges better than ever, with fire deaths in New York at the lowest they have been since 1919.  I congratulate today’s honorees and thank them, and all of New York’s Bravest for all they do for their fellow New Yorkers.”

“Today’s ceremony is about celebrating and honoring the bravery and selfless dedication of the men and women of the Fire Department,” said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. “Everyday our members risk their lives to ensure the safety of millions of New Yorkers and today we take the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for your sacrifice and courage. You have placed yourselves in grave danger so that others might live. That unwavering dedication is what makes you the bravest of the brave.”

The day’s top award, the James Gordon Bennett Medal, was given to Firefighter Victor J. Rosa, Jr. of Queens Ladder Company 138.  Firefighter Rosa, along with members of Ladder 138, responded to a fire in Jackson Heights, Queens at 37-52 89th Street on December 15, 2004.

The fast moving fire – started by a candle left unattended – had spread from the second floor up to the third floor hallway.  Using a portable ladder, Firefighter Rosa entered the third floor apartment directly above the fire and began searching for victims. Moving to the building’s exterior hallway without the aid of a hose line, Firefighter Rosa encountered heavy smoke and high heat. In the hallway, Rosa successfully located three victims, including a four-year-old child, and carried them to safety.

Five other medals were also awarded today to members who performed heroically at this fire. Although two civilian lives were lost and 15 others were critically or seriously injured at this fire, the toll would have been much worse if not for their efforts.

Also among today’s medal winners is Firefighter Jeffrey Cool of Rescue Company 3 in the Bronx. Firefighter Cool was critically injured in the January fire at 236 East 178th Street in the Bronx that claimed the lives of Lt. Curtis Meyran and Lt. John Bellew. Today, Cool was honored with the Emily Trevor/Mary B. Warren Medal for performing a roof rope rescue at 851 Bruckner Blvd., in the Bronx on June 12, 2004. Due to the heavy fire conditions, which had extended to roof of the building, Cool was left without a substantial object to anchor himself to. Left without any options, he attached himself to another firefighter from Rescue 3 (aided by members of Squad 41) who then began to lower him into the shaft of the apartment building. From there, Cool was able to pull a victim from a fourth-story apartment window. Both he and the victim were then lowered safely to the ground.

Marine Engineer Joseph C. Stark was also honored today with the Firefighter David J. DeFranco Medal after he braved extreme conditions to save a man from drowning in the Hudson River at Little West 12th Street in Manhattan on May 3, 2004. ME Stark, a member of Marine Company 1, received a call for a person in the water adjacent to Marine 1’s quarters. Without hesitation and in the driving wind and rain, he donned a flotation jacket and dove into the 48-degree water. ME Stark quickly located the victim who became combative and resisted any attempt to be rescued, putting both Stark and the victim in danger. With the assistance of Marine Wiper James Donovan, who was equipped with an exposure suit, Stark was able to restrain the victim and safely transport him to safety. 

Keeping with Fire Department tradition, 42 medals were awarded to firefighters for their heroic actions from the previous calendar year. Firefighters, representing all five boroughs, were honored with medals endowed by a variety of nonprofit organizations and other supporters of the FDNY.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Francis X. Gribbon   (FDNY)
(718) 999-2056

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