Celebrating "Our Proudest Moment", the 200 Club of Hunterdon County held their 2023 Valor and Merit Awards Dinner earlier this evening in Kingwood Township. Two of the recipients included South Branch Emergency Service volunteers EMT/FF Jason Mayer and EMT Patrick Kochanowski. Along with High Bridge Fire Chief Sean Smith, Mayer, and Kochanowski were awarded the only Live Saving Award of the year for actions taken in the early morning hours of May 1, 2022, at a large residential fire in a multi-unit dwelling in Union Township, Hunterdon County.
The submission for their award read as follows:
On May 1, 2022, South Branch Emergency Services was dispatched with numerous fire departments for a building fire with people trapped. An ambulance from SBES was first to arrive on the scene in less than 5 minutes from dispatch to find a large condo building involved in fire with 3 people that had jumped from the 2nd and 3rd floors to escape. (EMTs) Jason and Patrick immediately began to render aid to those that were seriously injured. They worked for several minutes by themselves until additional units arrived. Jason and Patrick kept calm under pressure and the severity of the injured in providing the best care to those in need, they triages as needed and had others assist when possible until other ambulances and personnel arrived. The crew called for medical helicopters and additional Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support units to evacuate the injured to a regional burn center and a local trauma center. The direct actions by volunteers EMT/FF Mayer and EMT Kochanowski led to successful outcomes for all those seriously injured.
Chief Smith, one of the first arriving Chiefs on the scene, was directed by bystanders and the NJSP personnel on the scene to a woman hanging out a window several stories up with heavy fire behind her. Chief Smith ascended the Clinton Fire Department's Ladder Truck and approached the disoriented woman. While making the rescue and descending the ladder truck, both Chief Smith and the burned, disoriented victim who had tried to get away from her rescuer, lost their footing, which resulted in a fall from the ladder to a NJSP State Trooper below.
Additional residents were evacuated by the quick actions of additional State Troopers and arriving firefighters, including one elderly resident who was still asleep in bed and successfully removed uninjured.
Congratulations to all involved, especially our very own members, for doing what you train to do, but luckily rarely have to use to their full potential. Great job all!
200 Club of Hunterdon, 2023 Honorees
Life-Saving Award - Incident: Union Township Fire
(L to R) EMT/Firefighter Jason Mayer, South Branch Emergency Services
EMT Patrick Kochanowski, South Branch Emergency Services
Chief Sean Smith, High Bridge Fire
Unit Citation Award - Incident: Union Township Fire
Sergeant Michael Delgaizo, NJSP
Trooper Juan Jacome, NJSP
Trooper Filip Konieczkowski, NJSP
Trooper Zachary Manley, NJSP
In addition to South Branch Emergency Services, High Bridge Fire Department, and NJSP, other honorees included members of: