The Council Chambers were as bright as the October weather the day the Awards Ceremony for the New Rochelle Fire Department was held. Mayor Noam Bramson set the tone for the program by acknowledging the great sacrifices family members of firemen make. He continued that celebration of the promotions today for the service given is a tribute to the professionalism and dedication of our Fire Department. Then he characterized the department as one of the best in the Country. Promotions followed and Lou DiMeglio was sworn in as Fire Chief, Robert Benz as Deputy Fire Chief, Theodore Ferrara as Fire Captain and Brian O’Keefe and Raul Perez as Fire Lieutenants.
Fire Chief DiMeglio addressed the large number of both firefighters in uniforms who were being honored and their families and friends who were in the audience. He thanked the City for the opportunity to lead the Fire Department and acknowledged the leadership of former Fire Commissioner Ray Kiernan.
The awards then commenced. A letter of Commendation was given to Lieutenant Michael Rende who had stopped to assist an auto accident in the Town of Greenburgh. This was followed by Life Saving Awards The City has three ambulances during the day and two at night after ll p.m. The First Department has EMT’s who usually get to the scene first where they address the emergency. Then the ambulance, paramedics and usually more EMT’s arrive If CPR is necessarily the firemen will help and may even drive the ambulance to the hospital. Among the Life Saving Awards given was one for a 90 year old woman on Stuart Drive where CPR was administered by the firemen. The woman was returned to consciousness and started talking At 189 Drake Avenue CPR by a fireman was used to revive a man in cardiac arrest who started breathing. Similarly a woman who fell at Station Plaza had no pulse. Firemen administered CPR and as the ambulance arrived the woman started breathing.
Among the most dramatic rescues was a Unit Citation on March 26, 2011 for Rescue 4, Engine 22 and Ladder and 23, Tower Ladder 11 and Ladder 12 which responded to rescue a victim who had fallen down 25 feet to the bottom of a light shaft. Engine 23 personnel sized up the incident and through a second floor bathroom window established contact with the victim. A two pronged approach was attempted to “facilitate rescue of the victim.” Ladder 12 members entered through the front door of the laundromat, located the light shaft window and removed the saches so the victim would be reached. The victim was immediately immobilized and removed using a Reeves stretcher and transported to Jacobi Medical Center. An alternate strategy would have been used, had the first one not worked. Ladder 12 (Captain Donald Bradley, Firefighters Brian Bracken and Andrew Burpee) were given a unit citation. All the personnel involved were commended by Deputy Chief John R. Reed for the “knowledgeable, efficient and professional manner throughout the entire operation.”
On July 31, 2011, there was an early morning accident on Interstate 95 southbound and a motor vehicle needed to be extricated. Engines 2 and 24, Ladder 12, Car 2302 and Ambulance 301 were dispatched to the scene. Car 2302 with Captain Andrew Sandor and Fire Fighter Jason Toterhi arrived first and sized up the situation. Two vehicles in the southbound left lane had three people entrapped. Ladder 12 was called and additional ambulances. It was a wrong way, head-on collision and many State and NYPD police were present. Engine 21 first arrived followed by Rescue 4 which sealed off three lanes of traffic in the rear.
Each of the three people had to be individually extricated because special skills, tools and techniques were needed. The staggered arrival of ambulances and the location next to the concrete barrier “hindered the removal of one of the patients” according to Andrew J. Sandor, Captain, group 2. Two people were successfully extricated and treated, both of whom had serious injuries, but they survived. The third person did not wear a seat belt and had been partially trapped by the car motor and finally succumbed to his injuries. Sandor, the Acting Shift Commander, felt Squad 12 along with detailed members actions “reflect great credit on them and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the New Rochelle Fire Department.” DiMeglio added that he was proud of these actions because it was “his squad” and he happened to be off that night.
In the November 10, 2011 issue of the Westchester Guardian