Firefighter of the Year Award Recipients List (2006)

Medal of Honor

Holyoke Fire Department

Firefighter/EMT Eduardo Medina
Firefighter/EMT David Rex

On January 19, 2006, Firefighters Medina and Rex responded to 8-12 Main Street in Holyoke for a building collapse. During the search of the building, Firefighters Medina and Rex discovered one seriously injured victim and a second victim pinned by a structural member in a debris pile outside the third floor porch. They stabilized and removed the first victim and extricated and revived the second one. The building was unstable and precarious for all with the threat of additional collapse imminent.


Revere Fire Department

Lt. Anthony Giampietro

On arriving at the March 31, 2006 fire at 495 Revere Beach Boulevard, Lt. Anthony Giampietro took command of the rear of the building and proceeded to assist in the rescue of the occupants out on balconies. After noticing that one of the waiting victims had disappeared, Lieutenant Giampietro repositioned the ladder and, in extremely worsening conditions, entered the apartment to search for the victim. The lieutenant found the unconscious woman on the floor and dragged her out onto the balcony where he began CPR. Members of his engine company assisted in moving the victim to an ambulance, where she was transferred to the Norman Knight Hyperbaric Medicine Center at the Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary.


Salem Fire Department

Captain Antonio Marfongelli

Captain Antonio Margonelli was part of the crew that responded on October 1, 2005 to 32 Palmer Street, Salem and rescued six people over ladders in dangerous and rapidly worsening conditions. The firefighting at this fire was truly a team effort, with Captain Antonio Marfongelli guiding the fire victims as well as his firefighters through the dangerous conditions. The captain placed himself on a small porch roof and passed each individual to the waiting crew, until the entire family had been rescued. After helping the last occupant, the mother of the family, time had run out for Captain Marfongelli. He was trapped by overlapping fire from the first floor and fire issuing from the second and third floor windows. With no way to escape he issued a mayday. His crew directed water on the roof and made an avenue of escape possible down the ladder.

Medal of Valor
Amesbury Fire Department

FF James Drouin

On Sunday, February 19, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. the Amesbury Fire Department received a call that a young boy had fallen through the ice on Lake Gardner. Firefighter James Drouin responded to the scene, donned his wet suit, and moved across the ice towards the boy. When about 100 from him, firefighter Drouin fell through the ice and had to swim the final distance. Realizing the time involved and the danger of hypothermia for the young child, instead of holding the boy and waiting for the rescue boat, firefighter Drouin carried the boy on his back and swam through the cold and rapidly moving water to shore.

Gloucester Fire Department

FF/Paramedic Eric J. Christopher

On January 19, 2006, Firefighter/Paramedic Christopher and his partner were returning to the firehouse when they observed a 3-story structure with heavy fire venting from windows on the second floor. As his partner was donning protective gear and Firefighter Christopher was surveying the scene, an occupant of the house screamed that someone was still inside. Although he had not yet put on his protective gear, Firefighter Christopher entered the house and found a woman unconscious on the floor. Firefighter Christopher immediately removed her from the building and began rescue breathing for the victim, who was then transferred to EMS.

Concord Fire Department

FF Brian Whitney
FF Kevin Fagerquist

On October 16, 2005, Firefighter Kevin Fagerquist and Firefighter Brian Whitney responded to a call that two senior citizens had capsized into the Concord River. Neither were wearing personal floatation devices when the canoe capsized. While enroute, Firefighters Whitney and Fagerquist donned ice rescue suits, as the department did not have cold water rescue suits at the time of the incident. Upon arrival at a downstream location, they entered the water on tether lines and grabbed the two victims as they were coming at them in a very rapid current. Firefighters Fagerquist and Whitney showed courage under pressure in making a quick decision to enter the water, utilizing minimal crew, to provide a safety net of tethered lines, extricating one victim to shore and returning for the other victim. Both victims had been in the frigid water for 15 minutes and were showing signs of hypothermia.


Revere Fire Department

Lt. John Finn
FF Christopher Kelley

Revere Fire Department

Lt. Finn and Firefighter Kelley were part of the first unit to arrive at the scene on 495 Revere Beach Boulevard on March 31, 2006 and quickly assessed the severity of the fire. They observed two occupants stranded on a balcony directly above the fire and immediately raised the aerial ladder. The firefighters climbed the aerial as it was extending, even as fire was overlapping onto the balcony and impinging onto the ladder. With their help the two victims were rescued and assisted down the ladder under increasingly deteriorating conditions.
Meritorious Conduct -- Individuals
Concord Fire Department

Firefighter William Haugh

On October 16, 2005, Firefighter William Haugh responded to a report of two senior citizens who were in the water, hanging onto a canoe, and being swept down the Concord River. The two victims were not wearing any personal flotation devices. Firefighter Haugh developed an action plan with the others, surveying the scene to find the most advantageous spot to serve as shore tender for the two firefighters attempting rescue. Firefighter Haugh kept both firefighters in visual contact at all times and protected them from being swept away using tether lines to hold onto them as they worked their way to the victims. He also assisted in the removal of the victims from the water by twice pulling the safety line in as each victim was secured. Firefighter Haugh's efforts were essential to the positive outcome of this incident.


Fitchburg Fire Department

FF Bill Vautour

At 7:30 am, on August 7, 2005, Firefighter William Vautour was driving home from work when he spotted a fire at 176 River Street and immediately reported it. Upon reaching the building, he quickly sized up the situation, kicked in the front door, and began to alert the second floor occupants of the fire. Due to the intense heat and the lack of personal protective gear, he was forced to exit the building. Firefighter Vautour then heard someone trapped on the first floor and attempted to re-gain access to the building through the rear of the house. The victim managed to break a window blocked by an air conditioner and Firefighter Vautour helped the badly burned man. Within seconds of the victim's exit, all avenues of escape were blocked by fire.

Meritorious Conduct -- Groups

Boston, Chelsea and Revere Fire Departments

Boston Fire Department Engine 56 -
Lt. Kevin McCarthy, FF James Cushing,
FF Lorenzo Thompson and FF Joseph Harris

Chelsea Fire Department Engine 3 and Ladder 2 -
Captain Paul Eaves, Lt. Charles Crowley, FF Jose Torres, FF Anthony Martins, FF William White and FF Michael Coyne

Revere Fire Department
Deputy Chief John Moschella, Captain Daniel Floyd, Captain Daniel Floyd, Captain Vincent Jesoraldo, Captain Gerald Picariello, Lt. John Carey, Lt. Frank Ferrante, Lt. Eugene Guinasso, Firefighter Sean Bruno, Firefighter Richard Clarke, Firefighter Charles DelGreco, Firefighter Brian Doherty, Firefighter Stanley Ferragamo, Firefighter Joseph Garbarino, Firefighter Joseph Guarnera, Firefighter Louis Iovine, Firefighter Joseph Laurano, Firefighter Richard LeBranti, Firefighter Edward Russell, Firefighter Jospeh Spallone

At 4:30 am, on March 31, 2006, multiple alarms were sounded for a building fire at 495 Revere Beach Boulevard, an 80-unit apartment building with no fire sprinklers. Upon arrival, the firefighters observed people trapped on balconies, awaiting rescue. Despite deteriorating conditions, rapidly spreading fire and thick smoke, these firefighters from Boston, Chelsea and Revere worked effortlessly to run lines and raise ladders. The firefighters made numerous rescues.


Holyoke Fire Department

Firefighter Michael Mclain, Deputy Chief Walter Nelson, Captain John McGillicuddy, Firefighter/EMT Francisco Rivera, Firefighter/EMT Sean Sylvester, Lt. Peter Lynch, Firefighter/EMT James Wilson, Firefighter Michael Leary, Lt. Shaun Peltier, Firefighter Robert Sadowski, Firefighter/EMT Eduardo Medina, Firefighter/EMT David Rex, Firefighter Thomas Cavanaugh, Lt. Marc Normandin, Firefighter Christopher Stortz, Captain Joseph Beaulieu, Firefighter Michael Clark, Firefighter/EMT Cerruti, Firefighter/EMT Heroindo Morales, Firefighter Anthony Gazda, Firefighter/EMT Brian Makiewicz, Firefighter Richard Masse, Lt. Richard Ostiguy, Firefighter John Petta, Firefighter Michael Wolohan, Fire Alarm Operator William Dziok, Captain/EMT Jeffrey Przekopowski, Lt./EMT Thomas Paquin, Captain Paul Gubala

Holyoke Fire Department

On January 19, 2006, firefighters responded to a reported building collapse at 8 & 12 Main Street. Upon arrival the firefighters determined the building was unstable and additional collapse was possible. A natural gas leak compounded the danger. As the group searched the building, they carried heavy equipment up and down throughout the building still on the verge of further collapse or worse, a gas explosion.


Northbridge Fire Department

Northbridge Fire Department Engine Company #4 -
Deputy Chief Steven Dupre, Lt. James Gosselin, FF Frank Brackley, FF Michael Baker, Captain David M. White

As flood waters in Northbridge reached seven feet on October 15, 2005, the Blackstone River and the Blackstone Canal merged. The merger sent a 300-foot wide torrent of water careening through town. Although the fire department was already deployed to various emergencies due to the flooding, members quickly responded when police called for assistance for a carload of teenagers trapped by the raging water.

Upon arrival, members of Engine 4 waded into the water, secured a tether to the vehicle, and rescued the teenagers. The crew then learned of another stranded vehicle whose occupants were on the car's roof waiting for help. Captain David White commandeered a front end loader to assist in the rescue. After a harrowing ride down the waterway and by utilizing a front end loader, Captain David White rode in the bucket and rescued the victims.


Salem Fire Department

Salem Fire Department Division 4, Deputy Fire Chief Brian Harrington

Engine 1 - Lt. William Bresnahan, FF Pat Tobin, FF John O'Leary, Ladder 1, FF Bernard Szczechowicz, FF Frank DeFranco; Engine 4 - Lt. Richard Brennan, FF Robert Roderick, FF John Thomas; Engine 5 - Lt. John Mento, FF Paul Gallant, FF Tom Tremblay;
Engine 2 -Lt. Bruce Silva, FF Jeff Cosbar, FF Charles Campanaro

On October 1, 2005, firefighters responded to a structure fire at 32 Palmer Street with smoke and heavy fire showing. The firefighters immediately rescued a man hanging from a rear stairway window. Learning of more people trapped, they raised a ladder to the rear porch to use as a working platform to rescue additional occupants. Several times the firefighters, due to the increasing severity of the fire, lost sight of the platform on their escape route and had to be rescued themselves.


Fire Marshal's Special Appreciation Award

Mr. & Mrs. Mark Garofalo

Carbon monoxide detector legislation

On January 24, 2005, Mark and Christine Garofalo suffered an unthinkable tragedy when their Plymouth home filled with deadly amounts of carbon monoxide. The furnace vents had been blocked by deep snow during a power outage. Several family members were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning and their 7-year old daughter Nicole died on January 28.

Everyone can see themselves in the Garofalo's story. We appreciate their willingness to come forward and publicly share their story and their pain, to help pass legislation that bears the name of their daughter. Nicole's Law, passed in 2005, requires carbon monoxide alarms in homes that have a risk of carbon monoxide Mr. and Mrs. Garofalo are being honored for their efforts to create a lasting legacy to Nicole and to keep other families safe from an invisible, odorless enemy.

Tomas, Mary, Sean and Liam Kearney and Deirdre Howard 
Fire Safe Cigarette legislation,

May 27, 1990 is a day the Kearney-O'Neil family will never forget. They lost five members and a close family friend in a horrible, cigarette-caused fire in Roslindale -23- year old Miles O'Neil, 22-Year old Mary Kearney O'Neil, 20 year old Stacey O'Neil, 4-year old Charlene O'Neil, 10-month old Lee Ann O'Neil and 21-year old Pat McGovern.

The members of the Kearney-O'Neil family have worked hard for years advocating for passage of fire-safe cigarette legislation both at the federal level and in individual states. This past year, as a result of their hard work backed by a coalition of fire and public health officials, the Fire Safe Cigarette law passed here in Massachusetts Starting in 2008 all cigarettes sold in Massachusetts will have to be "self-extinguishing." We are one of the first states to pass this legislation and we lead the way for the nation. They are being honored for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and bring about change and keep others from the pain they have known.

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