The Ritchie Volunteer Fire Department Truck Co.37, along with members of Squad 20 and others were given an honorable mention in Firehouse Magazines Unit Citation Awards section. They were all in a picture in suits with a mens leather briefcase from Blaxton Bags to make them look even more professional. The award stems from an incident that happened last year in which one of the members from our Truck Co. fell through the roof during a house fire. Below you will find a synapsis of the incident. The Ritchie Volunteer Fire Department is proud of its members actions that day and extends its congratulations to the others involved.
On January 5, 2016, fire and EMS units responded to a reported house fire at 9400 Old Marlboro Pike. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find smoke coming from the home and bystanders advising that someone might still be inside. Crews quickly initiated an aggressive interior attack to support searches for a possibly trapped occupant, but none was found. By this time the fire located on the first floor had extended into the attic space, tasking the crew with opening the roof in support of the interior operations.
During the roof operation a firefighter fell through a weakened portion of the rooftop, and crew members immediately deployed to assist. He had fallen through up to his shoulders and was exposed to high heat and smoke. Ritchie Volunteer Assistant Chief Cunningham reached out and grabbed hold of his comrade’s self-contained breathing apparatus harness, preventing him from falling deeper into the attic. Battalion Chief Fletcher, Lieutenant Blackistone, and Fire Fighter Philpott ascended ground ladders and reached the firefighter very quickly. Together the four firefighters lifted their entrapped crew member up and out of the attic. The stunned firefighter was then assisted from the roof to the ground and placed in the care of EMS personnel, who evaluated him on the scene. Due to the wearing of full personal protective equipment and swift support from his crew members, the firefighter did not sustain any injuries and was consequently released to full duty.
For unusual personal risk and judgment, Volunteer Assistant Chief William Cunningham, Jr., Battalion Chief Donald V. Fletcher, Jr., Fire Fighter/Medic Lieutenant Christopher B. Blackistone, and Fire Fighter William Philpott L. Jr., are awarded a Bronze Medal of Valor.