2009 Meritorious Conduct Awards - Class C


Lt. Ronny B. Tsujimoto Rescue Squad 1
FF John G. Shanley Rescue Squad 1
FF Mark T. Hayes Rescue Squad 1
FF Paul R. Gallegos Rescue Squad 1


On July 8, 2001, Rescue Squad 1 responded to a Second Alarm fire at 693 7th Avenue with a report of trapped victims. The apartment was poorly configured and densely packed with furniture and belongings, with no visibility and intense heat. The crews split into two teams, the first crew finding a mother slumped over a crib and the second crew finding a small infant under the crib. Both mother and child would have certainly perished if not for these rescues.


FF Michael A. Rustia Rescue Squad 2
FF Adam H. Wood Rescue Squad 2


On October 25, 2004, Rescue Squad 2 arrived at the scene of a working fire at 1727 Ulloa with a report of people trapped in an upper floor rear bedroom. The team of firefighters Rustia and Wood made their way up the heated and smoke-filled stairway without a protective hose cover, found the two occupants and were able to remove them to safety. Both firefighters removed their air masks and gave them to the occupants during their extrication from the fire building.


FF John R. Sikora Truck 1
FF Eric Botelho Rescue Squad 1


On May 29, 2005 at 540 Jones Street, SFFD units were dispatched to assist SFPD with a reported attempted suicide (jumper). Upon arrival, units found a man straddling the 5th floor fire escape and threatening to jump. Rescue Squad 1 staged on the 5th floor to offer assistance to SFPD officers who were outside with the man. The man refused to speak with the SFPD officers and stated that he only wanted to speak with a firefighter. FF Sikora, at SFPD's request, stepped onto the fire escape and began to dialogue with the man. After approximately ten minutes of conversation he was able to calm the man down and gain his trust sufficiently to get him to sit and lean towards the window. This allowed FF Botelho to grab the man's arm and restrain him long enough for FF Sikora and SFPD officers to restrain and pull the man inside to safety.


Capt. Victor H. Wyrsch Off-Duty
FF Brook Baker Off-Duty


On December 3, 2005, while off-duty, Victor Wyrsch and Brook Baker saw smoke in the area. Upon further investigation they found smoke coming from the 3rd floor window at 3035 Webster Street. They forced entry into the building and alerted the 15 to 20 people in the neighboring apartments, instructing them to exit the building immediately. They then forced entry into the apartment which was charged with thick black smoke and knocked down the fire in its incipient stages using two house extinguishers thereby preventing major damage and extension of fire to the building.


FF Johnny H. Williams Off-Duty


On February 21, 2006, while off-duty at his home in Sacramento, Johnny Williams was awakened by his young daughter. She informed him that their neighbor's 1 year old son had fallen into their pool. Mr. Williams raced next door and found the boy in the driveway, unconscious and without respirations, surrounded by his frantic family. The infant had been found and pulled from the pool by his ten year old brother. Mr. Williams immediately began CPR while confirming that 911 had been activated. He continued for over five minutes until the infant began breathing on his own and was able to transfer care to the Sacramento Fire Department.


Lt. Bradley L. Rey Truck 1


On July 22, 2006 at the 5th and Market BART station entrance, Lt. Rey saved a suicidal man's life through his own initiative and courage. Fire crews came upon a large and mentally unstable man standing on the BART entrance cement wall, threatening to jump approximately two stories down into the BART station. A large crown had gathered, watching the situation unfold. It was clear that the man was going to jump and could not be reasoned with. Lt. Rey devised a plan, communicated it to the Incident Commander and executed it in an expedient manner thereby saving the man's life. Lt. Rey secured the man and restrained him so he could then be transported to the hospital.


FF Paul D. Orlando Engine 28


On September 2, 2006, Engine 28 was dispatched to street box 1423. The crew had been staking out the box because it had been the site of excessive false alarms for four consecutive days. The engine crew had taped the box shut and posted FF Orlando near the most frequently pulled street box. FF Orlando watched the suspect remove the tape and pull the alarm. When confronted by FF Orlando, the suspect confessed and was placed under citizen's arrest until SFPD units arrived. These actions led to a sharp decrease in false alarm activity in the area and deterred any potential damages or injuries which may have resulted from units responding to false alarm calls. The crew's perseverance and ingenuity led to this often-times difficult arrest.


RC Kevin S. Chocker Rescue Captain 3
FF/PM Ronald Johansen Engine 36


On October 14, 2006, units were dispatched to the Church Street MUNI Station for an individual trapped under a MUNI car. Engine 36 and RC3 were first on the scene and crews immediately got under the train to assess the patient and administer life saving procedures. The crews also assisted with extrication efforts as other units arrived on the scene. The train was inside the station and the individual trapped was under the middle of the train, making patient care and removal extremely difficult. Crews worked in a very coordinated and professional manner to avoid further harm to the patient, or damage to the train. The patient was successfully extricated 44 minutes after the crews had arrived on the scene. FF/PM Johansen and RC Chocker were extremely instrumental in providing medical care for this patient.


FF Marciel O. Rivera Off-Duty


On January 31, 2007, while off-duty, Marciel Rivera and Eric Tanimura were on Ocean Beach when they noticed a fellow surfer caught in a rip current. They notified the dispatch center and grabbed safety equipment while keeping an eye on the distressed surfer. Mr. Tanimura gave arriving SFFD units information while Mr. Rivera ran to the beach to get into position to swim out to the victim. Mr. Tanimura quickly joined him as they both rode the rip current out to the victim and brought him back to shore safely. Their quick actions possibly saved this surfer's life.


Lt. Cristeo A. Reyes Engine 1
FF Robert E. Winslow Rescue Squad 1


On February 26, 2007 while conducting fire operations at 634 Powell Street, Lt. Reyes and FF Winslow advanced a single hose lead to the seat of the fire while the other members of their companies performed rescue operations. The two fought the fire aggressively and under extremely adverse conditions during which Lt. Reyes' mask was knocked off and he was overcome by smoke. FF Winslow came to his assistance and also suffered smoke inhalation. Both members were brought to a safe area but succeeded in preventing the fire from spreading to the rest of the building.


FF John J. Harrington Truck 19


On July 7, 2007 at 326 Bright Street, Truck 19 responded to a report of fire in a building. They forced entry into a building charged with heat and smoke. The interior had an excessive fire load as it was packed with furniture and miscellaneous items, making access nearly impossible. These factors inhibited the initial attempts to advance the crews into the residence to conduct a primary search and fire extinguishment. Upon reaching the top of the staircase, a call for help was heard, and FF Harrington made his way through heavy smoke, extreme heat and excessive clutter to find the victim. He was able to locate the victim and bring her to safety without the protection of a hose line.


Lt. Cristeo A. Reyes Engine 1
FF Derek B. O'Leary Engine 1


On October 20, 2007, Battalion 2 and Engine 1 arrived on the scene at 250 Hyde St. to assist SFPD with a potential jumper. After 25 minutes of negotiating with the young woman she opened the exterior window again and Sgt. Michael Cesari lunged to grab her off the window sill. Lt. Reyes and FF O'Leary ran to the officer's call for assistance and they grabbed her by the waist and feet to pull her inside to safety. Their quick actions, personal initiative and courage prevented the young woman from falling to the street.


FF Todd M. Plunkett Medic 43


On October 29, 2007 in front of Fire Station 43, FF Plunkett went out to move his personal vehicle and witnessed an assault and attempted robbery. He noticed two men hovering over a civilian who was on the ground, as they began to search his pockets. To protect the victim, FF Plunkett yelled at the two assailants which caused them to step away from the victim and point their handgun towards FF Plunkett. The victim later recounted that because they had a gun he had begun to comply with their demands to forfeit his SF Giants hooded jacket and he remembers begging for them  not to kill him. The two men then fled the scene and FF Plunkett and the civilian retreated into the station.


FF Marciel O. Rivera Off-Duty


On January 30, 2008, while off-duty, Mr. Rivera was first on the scene of a working fire at 632 10th Ave. He had heard screams that the buildings were on fire as he passed by. He told a civilian to call 911 and began alerting and evacuating occupants. Upon the arrival of the SFFD crews he informed them that the fire was running up the light wells from the 2nd and 3rd floors to the roof and proceeded to assist with fire attack until the second engine company arrived on scene.


FF Raymond P. Poydessus Truck 5
FF Eric K. Hipp Truck 5


On April 7, 2008 at 10 Bertie Minor Lane, SFFD units arrived on the scene of a working fire to find flames and heavy black smoke coming from the front and rear of the top floor of a 3 story residential building. There were flames coming from one of the front windows and a 93 year old woman leaning out of the other window with heavy black smoke billowing out behind her. Her grandson was watching from the street below. Firefighters Bright, Poydessus and Hipp immediately grabbed a 35 ft ladder and made a quick, coordinated and skillful raise over steps and bushes to place the ladder to her 3rd floor window. FF Bright quickly ascended the ladder and made a swift rescue of the woman just as she was starting to weaken and fall back into the heat heavy black smoke.