FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER CASSANO HONOR MEMBERS OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AT 142nd MEDAL DAY
Firefighters and EMS Members Awarded Medals for Bravery in the Line of Duty Over the Past Year
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today presided over the annual Fire Department (FDNY) Medal Day Ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The annual event honors those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, displaying courage and skill under the most extreme conditions to help save lives. This year, 27 Firefighters, eight Fire Officers, one Fire Marshal, four Fire Companies, seven Emergency Medical Technicians, two Paramedics and one EMS Officer received medals.
"Today is the day when we salute the most courageous acts in a department defined by its courage," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The visitors to this incredible warship come here to pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed for our country. The mission of our fighters and EMS technicians is one and the same: serving to protect others. And it's a mission the department is executing with unparalleled skill. Not since records were first kept in 1916 has our city had fewer fire fatalities than we did last year due to the bravery and dedication of the members of the FDNY."
"As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, I can't think of a more fitting place to honor the bravery of our members than the Intrepid," said Commissioner Cassano said. "There's always been a strong bond between FDNY and the military. We have the same core mission: putting our lives on the line every day to protect others. In the past year, fewer people have died in fires than any other year on record. Medal Day is our chance to honor their incredible, selfless acts that make a difference in so many lives."
This year, the Department's prestigious James Gordon Bennett Medal was awarded to Firefighter Peter Demontreux of Ladder Company 132, who suffered burns on his face and back after walking through a room engulfed in flames to save Clyde Mantany, 51, on August 30, 2010. After first rescuing a 60-year-old man hanging out a third-floor window at 175 Putnam Avenue in Brooklyn, Demontreux went inside the smoke-filled apartment, crawling on his hands and knees to a rear room, where he found the 51-year-old hanging out a back window. Demontreux helped the man back toward the front, knowing it was their only means of escape. After passing through a room now filled with flames, the two men were literally on fire when they arrived at the front window. Other firefighters immediately turned a hose on them, putting out the flames on their clothes and bodies. Thanks to Demontreux's heroic actions, Mantany survived.
Three members of FDNY EMS were awarded the Lieutenant Kirby McElhearn Medal for saving the life of a 47-year-old woman nearly crushed by an elevator on Christmas Day of last year. After becoming caught in its doors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the elevator suddenly shot up seven floors, shattering the woman's legs. EMT Patrick Creeden of Station 38, one of the first EMS members on scene, worked to control the bleeding, followed moments later by the arrival of Paramedic Patrick O'Neil, also of Station 38, who gave the woman intravenous fluids to compensate for her massive blood loss. While firefighters worked to free her from the doors, Paramedic Sean McGrath of Station 39 joined his fellow rescuers to treat the woman for crush injury syndrome. Changes in blood chemistry can prove fatal for a person suddenly released from the weight of a heavy object, unless they receive the right medications. After almost an hour of work, the woman was freed and rushed to a waiting surgical team at nearby Kings County Hospital. She ultimately survived.
The Department's newest medal, the World Trade Center Memorial Medal, was awarded to members of Engine Company 54 and Ladder Company 4 for helping successfully thwart a potentially deadly terrorist attack in Times Square on May 1, 2010. When they responded to an unusual car fire there, their training had taught them this was no ordinary incident and they knew exactly what to do - and what not to do. White smoke, unusual for a car fire, and popping noises from inside were immediate signs something wasn't right. Rather than put water on the fire, they notified the relevant authorities and worked with the Police Department to begin clearing the area, pushing pedestrians back a safe distance while the Bomb Squad responded to the scene. Their actions helped preserve evidence that led to the speedy capture of the would-be terrorist, who is now serving life in prison.
The Tracy Allen-Lee Medal was awarded to EMTs Dewey Mendonca and Garfield Smythe of Station 44 for their heroic work rescuing a man from a potentially deadly pit bull terrier attack at Brooklyn Avenue and Eastern Parkway on November 1, 2010. They arrived at the scene to find a man struggling to restrain the dog's head, but already suffering deep lacerations to his arm and wrist. Knowing the wounded, exhausted man could not hold the dog off any longer, the EMTs tried to hold the animal down, but it broke free and bit Mendonca in the right forearm. Smythe managed to finally scare the dog away by shouting and waving his arms. Despite the bite marks he suffered, Mendonca chose to continue caring for the injured patient and transport him to the hospital. Mendonca was later treated there as well. The victim later said he could have been killed if not for the actions of the EMTs.
A total of 39 medals were awarded to firefighters and 5 medals to EMS members for their courageous actions during the previous calendar year. FDNY members were honored with medals endowed by a variety of nonprofit organizations and other supporters of the Fire Department.
Stu Loeser / Marc LaVorgna (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY) (718) 999-2056
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