The Fireman’s Association of the State of New York presented their 2017 Valor Awards to five Smithtown Firefighters who were involved in a house fire rescue in the early morning hours of August 24, 2016.
Second Assistant Chief Patrick Diecidue, Third Assistant Chief Timothy Duckham, Ex-Chief John Hansen, Ex-Captain Engine Company 4 Jen O’Brien and Firefighter Joe LaRocco of Rescue Company 9 were all cited for their bravery in the face of adverse conditions. Smithtown Fire District EMT Tom Kriklava was also given an award.
The chief in command on that early morning was Past Chief Timothy Murphy. The chief’s report exemplifies the reason FASNY presented their highest honor to the five firefighters.
Murphy detailed the encounter, which took place at just after 3:00 a.m. on the day reported. The house at 38 Sterling Lane was the home of a Hauppauge firefighter, which had occupants inside at the time of the call.
“They encountered a thick, choking smoke that filled the upper level of the house,” Murphy said. They went inside “without regard for their personal safety,” according to the letter.
While searching the house, Duckham found a three-year-old girl unconscious in a bedroom. Together, he and Diecidue brought the girl to the front lawn, where she was treated by Kriklava.
Later on in the search with backup reporting to the scene, O’Brien found a woman and 3-month-old baby boy both unconscious and entangled in the bathroom. She removed the infant victim from the house and began performing mouth to mouth. Hansen and LaRocco removed the woman from the house and passed her to other firefighters and EMS personnel, according to Murphy.
The woman was in serious medical condition, staying at Stony Brook University Hospital with respiratory injuries.
“After almost four months, the mother was then transported to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center for consideration for a double lung transplant,” Murphy said. “She succumbed to her injuries on December 15, 2016.”
The two children were revived on the way to the hospital and were released after a full recovery.
The Smithtown Fire Department takes deep pride in honoring its finest.