Union honors 4 NY firefighters for heroic actions in 2018
The firefighters, all four are members of Syracuse Fire Fighters Local 280, were honored for their actions during two separate incidents that occurred in 2018
Sarah Moses Buckshot
Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association recognized the heroic actions of four Syracuse firefighters Monday by awarding them with the firefighter of the year award.
Kevin Cox, Gene Johnson, Rodney Mattison and Chis DeStefano were honored at the union’s 80th convention, which is taking place in Saratoga Springs. The union has 18,000 members and represents more than 100 departments.
The firefighters, all four are members of Syracuse Fire Fighters Local 280, were honored for their actions during two separate incidents that occurred in 2018.
“The four firefighters recognized represent the very best of the fire service," union President Sam Fresina said in a news release. "I know that their community is grateful for their service and dedication, our members are proud of them and the members of Local 280 are proud to stand with them.”
Cox was honored for his actions on March 31, 2018 on Whittier Avenue. A 17-year-old boy was suffering from a severe neck wound and extreme blood loss after falling through a window, according to the Syracuse Fire Department.
As the teen’s condition deteriorated, he stopped breathing. Cox reached into the wound and for about 20 minutes pinched it closed. Cox held the wound closed while additional procedures were performed on the scene and in the ambulance. The teen underwent life-saving surgery at Upstate University Hospital, according to Syracuse Fire Department.
“Undoubtedly, Firefighter Cox’s actions saved a life that without immediate action would have been tragically lost," Local 280 President Paul Motondo said in a news release. "It was his clarity of thought and commitment to his patient that provided the vital link from the scene on a city street to the operating room.”
On April 5, 2018 a fire engulfed a residence on Fitch Street.
The members of Syracuse Fire Department Rescue repeatedly conducted searches for victims throughout the multi-floor structure, which was filled with smoke and overwhelming flames. Multiple victims, including an infant, were in the home.
The incident, which ultimately resulted in the loss of four lives, was among the deadliest in recent history, firefighter said.
Motondo praised Johnson, Mattison and Destfano for their bravery on Fitch Street.
“Each year thousands of calls are received by the Syracuse Fire Department, and the dangers and peril are unknown when the a company leaves the station, but when they arrive on the scene, the community knows the members of this department will be prepared to confront every challenge and obstacle they encounter, and they will do so selflessly and with urgency," Motondo said in a news release.
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