MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - The Middlesex County Fire Department welcomed two international teams of Firefighters as part of an award issued annually by the Magirus Company for those who conduct special rescue and firefighter operations. The company rewarded a group of German firefighters for their part in extinguishing a forest fire outside of Berlin as well as Brazilian firefighters for saving people from a burning skyscraper. The group also visited the fire department in Jersey City, Rockefeller Center in New York, Ground Zero and were given a parade in New York City.

The group of Brazilian and German firefighters we’re given an exclusive tour of the Middlesex County Fire Department training facilities. The groups were brought through a training maze to test firefighters in claustrophobic situations, and they were shown how American Firefighters are trained to deal with natural gas fires with a fake inflammable car. The groups we’re also shown the department’s fire trucks and police vehicles and given a demonstration on how they would operate in a crisis situation.

The Brazillian Firefighters saved multiple people from a 24-story building in St. Paolo on May 1st, 2018. Firefighters noted that the building could collapse as soon as they were called onto the scene. People were removed to safety by firefighters using the neighboring buildings before the building collapsed within 30 minutes of their arrival. No fire fighters were killed in the process and seven residents lost their lives.

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Chief Silva, one of the Brazillian firefighters, says that he is enjoying his stay in America and has found the people at the fire departments to be courteous and informative. Silva is proud of his firefighters and says that they have all been having a great time.

“We like to emphasize that we do not need a reward for what it is that we do, that is not why we fight fire” Chief Silva said through a translator “But it is always nice to receive recognition and this award and hopefully we can inspire other firefighters around the world to do things like this.”

Alicia Ehle is one of the German firefighters who helped to combat a forest fire outside near Berlin and outside of her hometown. This is her first time visiting America and hopes to come back again very soon.

“Everybody here is very nice and the country is very beautiful. I loved visiting New York and hope to see more of it.” Ehle said “I am very proud of my fellow firefighters, they do an amazing job and it’s wonderful to get to see America.”

            Robert Minkler, a senior fire instructor with the Middlesex County Fire Department, was one of the tour guides for the visiting international firefighters. Minkler says that there is a value of rewarding fire fighters with a tour of a US fire department.

            “They get to see what the United States does and how we fight fires and how our training is different from their training. And hopefully they can take it as a positive experience back to their country.” Minkler said.