MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Fire Department held its 2019 awards ceremony at the Feb. 19 Township Committee meeting, recognizing members of the department for their heroic and effective actions throughout 2018.
The first award, the Administrative Award, was presented to several members of the department for their efforts in improving the training capabilities of the department by designing and creating an on-site training center behind fire headquarters. Award recipients Deputy Chief Richard Salkowski; firefighters Salvatore Aliano, Wayne Crowell Jr., Miguel Perez and Kenneth Yarussi; and firefighter/EMTs Matthew Antolino, William Davitt, David Hoy and Alberto Sanchez provided building material and construction services at no cost and donated their off-time to contribute to the project. Without their dedication and motivation to improve training for firefighters, this project would not have been possible.
Next, a Unit Citation Award was presented to members who operated Feb. 20, 2018, at a serious head-on collision involving a bus and a garbage truck that required extensive extrication and patient care. This award was presented to Capts. Keith Addie and Chris Ariemma; firefighters Crowell, Ciro D’Urso, Angelo Fiorenza and Yarussi; and firefighter/EMTs Steve Cassiello, Jon Conklin and Anthony Fortunato.
On Feb. 20, 2018, Deputy 3, Engine 32, Ladder 31 and Rescue 37 responded at 12:43 p.m. for the reported motor vehicle accident on Springfield Avenue near the NJ Transit bus garage. Engine 32 arrived on scene and Addie reported a head-on collision involving an NJ Transit bus and a garbage truck with multiple injuries. The driver of the empty bus was heavily entrapped behind the steering wheel and required extensive extrication. There were four workers on the garbage truck, a driver, a passenger and two others on the rear step, all of whom sustained serious injuries requiring treatment.
Addie, Yarussi and D’Urso deployed the hydraulic tools off of Engine 32 and started to extricate the driver of the bus, who was in critical condition. Salkowski arrived shortly after, assumed command and coordinated rescue efforts with all companies. Rescue 37 arrived on scene, and Conklin and Fortunato provided patient care to the bus driver and four workers on the garbage truck with the assistance of Ariemma. Ladder 31 arrived on scene, and Crowell, Fiorenza and Cassiello deployed a second set of hydraulic tools and assisted with the extrication of the bus driver. Rescue 37 transported the driver of the bus, while additional EMS agencies transported the other four patients to University Hospital in Newark.
All personnel that responded displayed true professionalism under difficult and stressful conditions, and worked as a cohesive unit. The members not only had to deal with the rescue of the heavily entrapped driver, but also had to provide triage, patient care with a delay in mutual aid EMS units, and mitigate a large fluid spill with a large crowd present.
The Life Saving Award was then presented to Perez, Davitt, Hoy and Sanchez for their actions performed at a CPR medical call on Aug. 21, 2018, in which they successfully resuscitated a woman in cardiac arrest who ultimately survived.
Rescue 37, Deputy 3 and Ladder 31 responded to the incident at 10:50 a.m. to 2091 Millburn Ave. for the reported unconscious woman. Upon arrival, Rescue 37 personnel found a patient on the floor of a doctor’s office with the medical staff performing CPR. The patient had no pulse and Davitt, Hoy, Perez and Sanchez took over patient care by performing CPR and delivering two shocks with an Automatic External Defibrillator. The patient regained a pulse and was transported by Rescue 37 and Paramedics to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark. Sanchez assisted Davitt and Hoy with continued patient care during transport to the hospital. The patient was responsive in the emergency room prior to fire department personnel leaving the hospital.
All personnel that responded displayed true professionalism and utilized their hours of EMS training to save the life of another human being. Without the quick decision making and life-saving effort, the patient would not have survived.
The Merit Award was then given to Ariemma and firefighter Connor Hamilton for helping Maplewood police officers rescue a woman from a house fire on Sept. 11, 2018. Deputy 3, Engine 32, Engine 33 and Ladder 31 responded to the fire 10 Nelson Place at 3:21 a.m. for the reported smoke coming from under an apartment door. While responding, REMCS received a second call reporting a structure fire. Engine 32 arrived on scene and Ariemma reported an occupied two-story wood frame multiple dwelling with flames showing from the second floor. While advancing the initial hand line to the second floor, Ariemma and Hamilton discovered Maplewood Police Sgt. James DeFazio and Officer Rob Smith attempting to remove an unresponsive victim from an apartment across the hall. Ariemma and Hamilton kept the fire apartment door shut to prevent flames from entering the common hallway, dropped the hand line and assisted DeFazio and Smith in removing the victim down the stairs to the exterior. Once the victim was removed from the structure, Ariemma and Hamilton re-entered the structure and advanced the hand line into the fire apartment, where they encountered heavy fire conditions. The intense flames were extinguished quickly, which prevented fire extension to the other apartments.
Last but not least, the Civilian Recognition Award was presented to Maplewood resident Jamie Skiles for designing a unique company logo to be displayed on Engine 32.
Photos Courtesy of Maplewood NJ FMBA L-25