At tonight’s council meeting the Bergenfield Fire Department recognized several members for their actions at a recent fatal house fire at 44 Luke Avenue on Sunday morning June 2nd.
Early morning fires typically produce the best chance for fatalities. The fire on Sunday June 2, 2013, did not deviate from this truism.
On arrival, Ladder 742 saw an advanced fire showing from the first floor windows. Realizing that the fire already had self-vented, the members knew that the fire had progressed significantly. With these facts in mind, the Ladder 742 members knew that occupants still might be trapped and their situation was compromised with the intense fire conditions.
Firefighters David Phelan, Michael Mertz and Jason Mertz began to force the front door. Heavy smoke and high heat were emanating from the top of the door. Once the door was forced, Captain Chris Naylis, his nozzle man Andrew McGoldrick and back up man Rich O’Connor of Engine 745 prepared to push in. Firefighter Phelan used his Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) to look in to the blackened hallway. He thought he saw the image of a person. He reached in and felt a victim and informed Captain Naylis of the same. The Captain radioed to operations that they had a victim.
Firefighters David Phelan and Michael Mertz were confronted with high heat, zero visibility and heavy fire extending throughout the first floor and were able to locate the unconscious victim.
They proceed to drag the victim back to the front door where they were met by Deputy Chief Jason Lanzilotti. Once they made it out onto the landing, they moved the victim off the front stairs and to the street, where the victims care was transferred to EMS and police personnel. Firefighters Phelan, Mertz and DC Lanzilotti then returned to the fire building to complete other tasks that needed to be done.
Firefighters Phelan and Mertz came to the aid and rescue of an elderly woman who was trapped and incapacitated, in dire need of help. Their courageous actions were in the finest tradition of the Bergenfield Fire Department. In recognition of their heroism, the BFD is proud to present Firefighters David Phelan and Michael Mertz the Bergenfield Fire Department Meritorious Service Award and Life Saving Award.
For their actions in assisting with the removal of the victim, the BFD would like to present Deputy Chief Jason Lanzilotti, Captain Christopher Naylis, and Firefighter Jason Mertz with the Bergenfield Fire Department Honorable Service Award and Life Saving Award.
For their actions in assisting with the removal of the victim, the BFD would like to present Firefighters Andrew McGoldrick and Rich O’Connor with the Bergenfield Fire Department Honorable Service Award.
Chief of Department Michael Lopez arrived on the scene first and reported that he had a 1 ½ story residential dwelling with heavy fire showing and possibly occupants trapped. He told incoming units exactly what he wanted done and remained calm and set the tone for the entire operation. Chief Lopez’s actions and demeanor allowed the entire operation to run as smooth as could be expected. The BFD would like to present Chief Michael Lopez with the Bergenfield Fire Department Honorable Service Award.
Finally, the Officers and members presented one additional award. Sean Conboy’ s family is dedicated to the fire service. His brother and son are career firefighters and Sean is a former Dumont and Tenafly firefighter. He is also a medic with Holy Name Hospital and he had just arrived home from a night shift when he heard the Bergenfield tones drop. He thought to himself looking at the clock that it might be something and jumped in his car and headed down to the scene. He thought maybe he could be of assistance. Little did he know he would be thrusted into saving a life?
As Sean was walking past the first due engine the chauffer yelled to him that they were bringing out a victim and he immediately looked for a spot to have them placed. As the members brought the victim to the street Sean was ready to go and quickly established an airway and working with the BVAC and BPD was able to provide the aid she needed. The Officers and Members of the Bergenfield Fire Department would like to present Sean Conboy with Bergenfield Fire Department Life Saving Award.