Local Firefighter Receives Prestigious Medal
Firefighter James T. Byrne of Ladder Company 121 in Far Rockaway was awarded the 2007 James Gordon Bennett Medal last Wednesday at the annual Fire Department (FDNY) Medal Day Ceremony led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. The event honors those in the FDNY who have displayed courage under the most extreme conditions to save lives. Byrne earned the Bennett Medal, which is given annually for the most outstanding act of heroism, by rescuing a fellow firefighter who was found unconscious in a January, 2006 fire on Beach Channel Drive. Byrne searched the 13-story building in zero-visibility conditions, and without the protection of a hand-line, after an Engine Company 264 member transmitted a "mayday." Byrne found the firefighter, who was unresponsive and surrounded by flames, trapped on the floor of the engulfed apartment. After rescuing the trapped firefighter, Byrne returned to the apartment, despite the dangerous conditions of the deteriorating hallway, to search for other trapped firefighters. Byrne is shown here with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo Credit: Ed Reed.