Nine members of the North Andover Fire Department were honored by the Lawrence Exchange Club last month.
Fire Chief Andrew Melnikas took to the podium and talked about why he nominated the firefighters for this annual award.
“The definition of the word ‘Brotherhood’ as defined by the Free Dictionary is an association of men and women, such as a fraternity or Union, united for a common goal. Firefighters are a brotherhood and one of their common or unspoken purposes or goals is the saving of lives, while often times putting their own lives in the path of danger.
This brotherhood was never more evident than in the early morning hours of May 3, 2014. At that time, Engine # 2 and Ambulance # 2 were dispatched to the area of # 585 Sharpeners Pond Rd. for a reported motor vehicle accident with personal injury. Within minutes, both responding units were on the scene.
Upon arrival, Lt. Beirne and his crew, found a vehicle, off the road, upright, with the driver’s side resting against several trees. One of the victims was conscious and crawling along the ground. A second victim was found, unconscious, lying on the ground in a ditch with shallow, labored breathing.
Lt. Beirne noticed that, as a result of the extensive damage to the vehicle, the gas tank had ruptured, leaking fuel onto and around the second victim. In addition, there were arcing wires in close proximity to the accident scene. Taking all of these factors into account the Lieutenant called for additional manpower and as a result Ladder # 1 was dispatched.
The crew of Ambulance # 2 with the assistance of the Paramedic Unit quickly yet carefully secured the seriously injured victim to the long backboard and removed him from the hazard. An additional ambulance was called to the scene to treat the first victim.
Due to the injuries to the unconscious victim the decision was made by the Paramedic Unit to Request Medflight and the landing zone was set up on the playing fields on Sharpners Pond Rd. The unconscious and critically injured victim was then transported to a Boston Hospital. As I was to learn in the following days, for Lt Beirne, and his crew, this was truly a lifesaving emergency.
The following Monday we learned that the critically injured person was a member of the Firefighter Brotherhood, a Burlington Firefighter. As a result of the accident, he had suffered several life threatening injuries. His Fire Chief had communicated to the Burlington Town Administrator that the reason the firefighter is alive and recovering from those injuries was a direct result of actions that the North Andover Fire Department performed at the scene. It is a result of their efforts on that evening that I have nominated Lt. Mike Beirne, Lt. Graham Rowe, FFs John McClellan, Matt Twiss, Dan Pas, Dan Ryan, Steve Risacher, Blake Zwinggi, and Neil Patnaude for the firefighter of the year award.
At this time I would ask that Burlington Firefighter, Gerry Letendre, please approach the podium and assist me in the presentation of the awards.”