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.
2019 Firefighter of the Year Sponsored by:
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|