BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - On Nov. 6, in an unusual Monday night meeting of the Township Council, officials honored three firefighters, each of whom recently received the Saint Barnabas Medical Center 2017 Valor Awards. 

The firefighters, Lt. James Hintze, Firefighter EMT Austin Bucossi and Battalion Chief Christopher Esposito, were honored for their actions on April 13, when attempting to rescue three people from a home fire. Two of the elderly victims of the fire died, one after being resuscitated by firefighters.  

“It was a tragedy, but for the actions of these three individuals would have been worse,” said Mayor Robert Woodruff.

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Three other firefighters from New Providence who assisted in the response also received Valor Awards.

Read more about the fire and the Valor Award Dinner here

This is the first time since 1988, following an explosion and fire  which killed three people at Gollob Analytical Services in Berkeley Heights, that any Berkeley Heights firefighter was honored with a Valor Award.

Woodruff said there is nothing the town can do to match the awards the firefighters received, “so we prepared a document to put in each of their files, to show the appreciation and recognition from the township, the governing body and, certainly, all the citizens.”

His remarks were greeted by a standing ovation from the council, officials and residents.