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FDNY FF receives Chief of Department medal for 20-story high-rise rope rescue

Eight medals were awarded to firefighters for their teamwork and bravery during the November 2022 incident


Photo/Theodore Parisienne/Tribune News Service

By Bill Carey
FireRescue1 Staff

NEW YORK — Firefighter Artur Podgorski and eight other firefighters were awarded medals for heroic actions during a November 2022 high-rise fire in a ceremony presided over by Mayor Eric Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. Firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, fire marshals and fire/EMS officers were presented with medals during the annual FDNY Medal Day Ceremony on Wednesday for their life-saving work in 2022.

Podgorski, Ladder 108, received the Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci Jr. Medal and NYS Honorary Fire Chiefs Association Medal for his participation in a 20-story rope rescue at a Manhattan fire. Eight medals were awarded to firefighters for their heroic actions at this fire. The account of the actions in the high-rise rescue shows the teamwork and bravery exhibited that day.

“As the rope was being prepared, Firefighter Podgorski determined the location of the victim, readied the anti-chafing device and placed his bunker coat over the jagged, light-gauge metal frame for added protection. The firefighters knew time was of the essence, so Firefighter Castaneda placed his feet against the bed to brace himself, and—with a Halligan in hand— Firefighter Podgorski exited the window.”

“Several times during this difficult and coordinated rescue effort, Firefighter Podgorski climbed or was pulled up to get better leverage under the direction of the lowering members. Once the victim’s arm was freed, she and Firefighter Podgorski were lowered inside the 19th-floor window to start medical treatment.”

[Video: ‘You have to work together,’ says FDNY firefighter describing dramatic high-rise rescue]

[FDNY’s rope rescue was amazing! Can we pull that off?]

Two new medals were presented this year, the William P. Moon II Medal of Life and the Captain Allison Russo North Star Medal. The first is named in honor of Firefighter William “Billy” Moon, Rescue 2, who was critically injured during a training drill in December 2022. The medal was presented to his wife, Kristina.

The second is named for EMS Captain Allison Russo, killed in an unprovoked attack while on duty in Queens in September 2022. This medal was presented to Captain Edgar Baez for his outstanding leadership during the attack.