Firefighter of the Year

NOMINATE NOW

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.

2018 Firefighter of the Year Sponsored by:

2018 Winner

Peter DiPinto, Sr.

Brookhaven Fire Department

A U.S. Navy veteran, Peter DiPinto, Sr. joined the Brookhaven Fire Department in 1984. He was Firefighter of the Year in 1987 and received two Chiefs Awards in 2002 and 2006.

Firefighter DiPinto was the Health and Safety Officer for the Brookhaven FD from 2002-2010. He was instrumental in having 10 members of the department obtain National Certification as Incident Safety Officers. He was also Chairman of seven important committees in the department. Firefighter DiPinto is currently a Life Member with 33 years of service in the Brookhaven FD.

On the night of October 10, 2017, Firefighter DiPinto and his wife were just settling into bed. There was a loud noise that Firefighter DiPinto immediately recognized as the sound of a motor vehicle accident right around the corner.

Firefighter DiPinto jumped out of bed in his pajamas and T-shirt, threw on his sneakers and grabbed a flashlight. As he ran to the front door, his wife, Laura, said she was going with him.

They jumped in their car and raced around the corner, where the first thing they noticed was a vehicle by the railroad crossing with a smashed front end. The driver was just exiting her car and he asked if she was hurt. The woman kept saying that she hit another car and it was her fault. She was more concerned about that driver.

Firefighter DiPinto asked, “What car?” With that, his wife saw headlights and yelled, “Pete, the other car is down the tracks.”

Firefighter DiPinto turned and saw the car sitting perpendicular across the tracks. He ran down the tracks to the car and upon coming to it could see with his flashlight that it had sustained a tremendous hit on the driver’s side door. He also noticed that the driver’s airbag was deployed. Firefighter DiPinto banged on the window and yelled, “Are you OK?”

A woman in a very low voice said that she didn’t know what happened, and kept saying that she thought she was hit by another car.

Suddenly, the sounds of the Arthur Avenue railroad crossing bells and gates activated. Firefighter DiPinto remembers hearing the sounds of the train horn blowing. Without regard for his own safety with nothing more than a flashlight and in his pajamas, Firefighter DiPinto ran around the car to the passenger’s side.

Firefighter DiPinto opened the door as the sound of the train’s horn was blaring in the still of the night. The train was coming closer and closer. Firefighter DiPinto reached in and saw that the driver had undone her safety belt and he shouted, “We have to go NOW!”

As she tried to move from her seat, she was having some difficulty. Firefighter DiPinto looked up and saw the bright light of the train and the horn blasting. He realized that it was now or never, so he grabbed her right wrist, leaned into the car and grabbed her left arm, pulling as hard as he could. They were now out of the car and on the tracks.

The train was almost to them. Firefighter DiPinto ran holding the victim’s arm and led her to the signal huts nearby. He knew he had to get them some kind of shelter before the train collided with the car, as he was afraid of flying debris hitting them.

They ran about 10 to 12 steps and then heard a loud noise as the train totally demolished the car. The car was a ball of metal thrown on the south side of the tracks.

The smoke was all around them from the train locking up its brakes and Firefighter DiPinto eventually saw the car behind the signal huts. He then saw his wife, who was screaming as she thought he had been killed.

A vehicle on Montauk Highway had stopped and Firefighter DiPinto yelled to him to call 911. Firefighter DiPinto and his wife brought the two victims to their car to keep them safe.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, it was approximately five to seven seconds after Firefighter DiPinto pulled the victim out of the car that the train collided with it. This entire rescue happened without the aid of any emergency equipment or other firefighters at the scene.

Firefighter DiPinto believes that this was divine intervention and is so happy that the victim is alive and is able to live her life with her family.

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
2018 Peter DiPinto, Sr. Brookhaven Fire Department