Firefighter of the Year

Honor your outstanding volunteers with a nomination for the FASNY Firefighter of the Year Award sponsored by VFIS. Each year, FASNY recognizes its bravest members with this prestigious honor designated for those who exemplify what the fire service and protecting our communities is all about.

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2018 Firefighter of the Year Sponsored by:

Congratulations to:

Timothy Duckham, Thomas Kriklava, Patrick Diecidue, Jennifer O’Brien, Joseph LaRocco and John Hansen

Smithtown Fire Department

On August 24, 2016, the Smithtown Fire Department was activated for an automatic alarm at 38 Sterling Lane, the home of a Hauppauge Fire Department member, Captain Tom Sidik.

First on the scene of the working fire were Captain Tim Duckham and EMT-CC Tom Kriklava. Assistant Chief Pat Diecidue was the first responding Chief. Finding no easy access after a 360-degree size up, Captain Duckham and EMT Kriklava forced the front door open and entered without regard for their personal safety to begin a search without the use of SCBA. They encountered a thick, choking smoke that filled the upper level of the house. After partially searching the second floor, Captain Duckham and EMT Kriklava exited the house and donned SCBAs from the Chief’s vehicle and first responder car before re-entering to continue the search. These searches were being made without the benefit of protective hose lines as apparatus had not yet arrived.

While EMT Kriklava searched one bedroom, Captain Duckham found an unconscious 3-year-old girl. He removed the victim, walking down the hallway to the top of the stairs.

There he was met by Chief Diecidue and, together, they transported the victim to the front lawn. EMT Kriklava exited the building and assessed the victim’s medical condition. He determined that the victim was in respiratory arrest and provided rescue breathing via mouth-to-mouth to the 3-year-old victim. Once his EMS gear was brought to him by police officers, EMT Kriklava provided rescue breathing via bag-valve-mask.

The victim was transported in the first arriving ambulance from Smithtown FD with EMT Kriklava joining the crew to continue to provide ALS care.

Chief Diecidue donned the SCBA previously worn by EMT Kriklava and re-entered the building with Captain Duckham to continue searching. Chief Diecidue and Captain Duckham continued searching with worsening conditions. With the arrival of apparatus and manpower, Chief Diecidue and Captain Duckham informed them of where they had searched. Chief Diecidue then handled interior operations for continued searches and firefighting efforts for the remainder of the alarm. Captain Duckham exited the building for rehab.

Engine 4-2-4 arrived on the scene with a crew that included Ex-Captain Jenn O’Brien. Advised by command of two known victims and the unknown location of the fire, ExCaptain O’Brien and a Lieutenant entered and started searching for two known victims.

Timothy Duckham, Thomas Kriklava, Patrick Diecidue, Jennifer O’Brien, Joseph LaRocco and John Hansen Smithtown Fire Department 2017 FIREFIGHTERS OF THE YEAR Rescue 4-2-9 arrived shortly after 4-2-4 and the crew was split to assist with the search and add manpower to the hose line off of 4-2-4. Engine 4-2-5 arrived at approximately the same time as 4-2-9. Captain/Ex-Chief John Hansen had his crew stretch a second hose line, assist with searching for victims and fire, and secure a water source for 4-2-4.

During search efforts, Ex-Captain O’Brien found the mother and her 3-month-old son unconscious in the bathroom. Coincidentally, Ex-Captain O’Brien had delivered the baby three months earlier in the same bathroom.

The victims were wedged together between the vanity and the toilet. After yelling for assistance, Ex-Captain O’Brien was aided by Firefighter Joe LaRocco. While trying to free the two victims, Firefighter LaRocco freed the infant. Captain Hansen entered the bathroom and, along with Ex-Captain O’Brien, moved the mother to the bathroom door.

Firefighter LaRocco passed the baby off to Ex-Captain O’Brien, who removed the 3-month-old from the house and began efforts to revive the victim along with another EMT. She started rescue breathing by mouth-to-mouth until the victim was put in the care of an EMS crew from Kings Park Fire Department.

Firefighter LaRocco and Captain Hansen removed the mother from the bathroom into the hallway. They were then assisted by the rest of the crew to move the mother down the hall to the stairs. The victim was then removed from the house and placed onto a waiting stretcher.

The Smithtown FD EMS crew transported the victim to the hospital. The split crews of 4-2-5 and 4-2-9 found the fire and extinguished it.

All three victims were removed from the involved house in respiratory or cardiac arrest. The mother was transported to St. Catherine’s Hospital. She was later transported to University Hospital at Stony Brook, where she remained in very critical condition with respiratory injuries.

After almost four months, the mother was transported to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center for consideration for a double lung transplant. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her injuries on December 15, 2016. The two children were revived in route to University Hospital. They were discharged after making a full recovery.

Captain Duckham, EMT-CC Kriklava, Assistant Chief Diecidue, Ex-Captain O’Brien, Firefighter LaRocco and Captain Hansen showed extraordinary teamwork at a scene that looked to be a tragedy, but ended in a successful and heroic effort.

Past Award Recipients

1955 J. Robert Kramer Lewis Tompkins Hose Company #1
1956 Edward Dixon Great Neck Vigilants
1957 William M. Belinson Eggertsville Hose Company
1958 John Patrick Cronin III Tallman Fire Company #1
1959 Dominic C. Zappia Massena Fire Department
1960 Donald Brown West Carthage Fire Department
1961 James Gilliam Lewiston Fire Company #2
1962 Russell Fleischman Washington Engine Company #2
1963 James H. Jackson Andover Fire Department
1964 Donald H. Price Nyack Fire Department
1965 Stephen R. Bucki Harris Hill Fire Company
1966 Gary Elbert Flower Hill Hose Company #1
1967 Gordon O. Schmidt St. Paul Boulevard Fire Association
1968 Jake Parris Patchogue Fire Department
1969 Thomas Nameth Slater Chemical Fire Company
1970 Charles L. Ossont Westmoreland Fire Department
1971 Barry Simmons Rhinebeck Fire Department
1972 Hobart A. Abbey Forest View — Gang Mills Fire Deptartment
1973 Harry Charkow Mattituck Fire Department
1974 John A. Keogh Mattituck Fire Department
1975 John Richard Green Merrick Fire Department
1976 Willard John Hoyt South Schodak Fire Company
1977 Alton L. Lewis Montour Falls Fire Department
1978 George Cannella Islip Terrace Fire Department
1979 Randall R. Rhoades East Syracuse Fire Department
1980 George Jerry Dean Gates — Chili Fire Department
1981 David A. Sedlock Massena Fire Department
1982 David L. Curley Delhi Fire Department
1983 Richard W. Gehrt Smithtown Fire Department
1984 Frederic Furminger Depew Fire Department
1985 Thomas A. Phillips S. W.  Johnson Steam Fire Engine Company
1986 Michael F. Reid Merrick Hook & Ladder Company #1
1987 John L. Hyzer Bainbridge Fire Department
1988 Paul Edward Vinciguerra Lindenhurst Chemical & Salvage Company #2
1989 Robert A. Frank Central Islip Fire Department
1990 Robert Hitchcock Blenheim Fire Department
1991 Charles R. Zigrosser Bayport Fire Department
1992 George P. Motchkavitz Great Neck Alert Engine Company
1993 Robert Pettigrew North Babylon Fire Company
1994 Paul A. MacMurray Hudson Falls Fire Department
1995 Kenneth T. Jones Sayville Hook & Ladder Company #1
1995 William H. Pyne III Sayville Hook & Ladder Company #1
1996 David A. DiDio Bellport Fire Department
1997 Matthew F. Merecka Freeport Fire Department
1998 Larry J. Stumpo North Patchogue Fire Department
1999 James S. Fredericks Mohegan Volunteer Fire Association, Inc.
2000 Mark Sposato Brewerton Fire Department, Inc.
2001 Raymond Valles Ossining Steamer Company #1, Inc.
2001 Donald J. Farrell Cataract Hose Company #2
2001 John Simkins Ossining Fire Department
2001 William H. Brown III Ossining Fire Department
2002 Dedicated to those who died in the Line of Duty 9/11/01
2003 Brian Stevens Manlius Vol. Fire Company, Inc.
2004 John C. Glidden III Huntington Manor Fire Department
2004 Frederick Steenson Jr. Huntington Manor Fire Department
2004 Richard Prudente Huntington Manor Fire Department
2005 Joseph Cirincione Rush Fire Department
2005 Michael Terzo Rush Fire Department
2005 Peter Henry Rush Fire Department
2005 James Bucci Rush Fire Department
2006 Richard J. Gimbl Holbrook Fire Department
2007 Lieutenant Al Cinotti West Islip Fire Department
2008 Lieutenant Edward Kunz Bay Shore Fire Department
2008 Lieutenant John Ippolito Jr. Bay Shore Fire Department
2009 Assistant Chief Timothy R. Ellis North Syracuse Fire Department
2010 Kevin Oatman, Aldo Cacciotti and Jeff Hugunine Verona Fire Department
2011 Second Assistant Chief Brian J. Lena and Captain William J. “Billy” Bahr Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department
2012 Andrew Kolesar West Haverstraw Fire Department
2013 John Curley Bellmore Fire Department
2014 Thomas J. Gorman Bohemia Fire Department
2015 Frank Crispin, Steve Zaferakis, Phil Vogt, Ryan Whitmore, and Jeremy Corsaro Moyers Corners Fire Department
2016 Frederick Kopf Baldwin Fire Department
2017 Timothy Duckham, Thomas Kriklava,
Patrick Diecidue, Jennifer O’Brien,
Joseph LaRocco and John Hansen
Smithtown Fire Department