UNION, NJ – Three Union firefighters are slated to receive the State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) Silver Medal of Valor award at the State FMBA Valor Awards dinner in April.

Lieutenant Kenneth DeHart, Firefighter Thomas Havyar and Firefighter Stephen Moro were selected to receive the Silver Medal of Valor for their life-saving actions at a house fire in Union on Dec. 1, 2019.

“You can ask any firefighter about an award or recognition they receive for an incident, and they will all say the same thing: ‘I was just doing my job’,” said Union Fire Chief Mike Scanio.  “That is the humble nature of a firefighter.  But I can tell you when you are recognized by your peers of the NJFMBA  it really means a lot. I could not be more proud of these three firefighters for a job well done. We help people on a daily basis, but when you can say you saved someone’s life from a burning building, that’s impressive.”

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Scanio said the three firefighters will also be receiving the Captain Dominic Ritorto Medal of Valor award from the Union Fire Department at their upcoming awards event.

The incident for which DeHart, Havyar and Moro are to be awarded was described as follows:

On December 1,2019, Union firefighters responded to Hillside Avenue for a report of an odor of smoke in a residence.  Battalion 1 arrived and reported a working fire with a female victim trapped on the second floor.  The victim was seen at the window in the back of the home and then disappeared from sight.  Engine 2 arrived on the scene and raised a ground ladder to the window.

DeHart and Moro ascended the ladder and DeHart entered through the window.  With high heat conditions and zero visibility, DeHart found the victim below the window, unconscious and badly burned.  Havyar ascended a second ground ladder and entered the room to assist in moving the victim out the window. 

Working above the fire and without the protection of a hose line, the firefighters were able to hand the victim to Moro, who was waiting on the ladder.  Havyar exited through the window to another ladder and together he and Moro carried the victim down the ladder to safety.  Once on the ground, the victim was taken to an awaiting EMS stretcher and transported to the Burn Center at St. Barnabas Medical Center in critical condition.

Lt. DeHart and firefighters Havyar and Moro have been awarded the Dominic Ritorto Medal of Valor fo their atiosn in courageously saving another under life-threatening conditions.