Firefighters Honored for Life-Saving Efforts at Town Council Meeting

Credits: Chris Harewood
Credits: Chris Harewood
Credits: Chris Harewood

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Fire Department was honored for its bravery and efficiency in last month’s fire and presented with a Mayor’s Certificate at Tuesday’s West Orange Township Council meeting. In addition, resolutions were passed, youth sports teams and a retiring Juvenile Conference Committee volunteer were honored, and other announcements were made.

Under the leadership of Fire Captain Joseph Byrne, Firefighter Kevin Dean, Firefighter Thomas Quigley, a large group of firefighters, police officers, and first aid squad members saved an 81-year-old woman and her 60-year-old son from a blaze that occurred at 155 Watson Ave. on May 22.

Byrne, Dean and Quigley, along with Police Officer Daniel Valle, Police Officer Quentin Demarco, Police Officer Edwin Diaz, and WOFAS Chief Dominick Allergrino, were presented with Mayor Robert Parisi’s Certificate of Appreciation for their efforts.

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According to a written statement, the mother and son were disoriented and unable to escape the fire with their own strength. The conditions of their home broke down quickly, with the stairs and roof collapsing. The two had to be lifted to safety.

“This was a very difficult fire,” said West Orange Fire Chief Peter F. Smeraldo Jr. “It was under intense stress on the scene. This isn’t a fire that took just 1, 2, 3 people. This took a network of about 35 or 40 people to keep under control.”

The fire was brought under control in two hours with the combined efforts of several neighboring fire departments in collaboration with West Orange’s Fire Department. 

Both victims were taken to Saint Barnabas Medical Center and treated along with a West Orange Fire Department Captain who suffered second-degree burns to both wrists.

Resolutions Passed

During the reading of resolutions portion of the meeting, resolution 161-15, 164-15, and 169-15 were initially pulled by Councilman Joe Krakoviak, who then decided to abstain from voting on the first two. All resolutions were passed.

Retiring Juvenile Conference Committee Volunteer Receives Proclamation

Longtime West Orange Resident Frank Barszcz was given the Mayor’s Proclamation for his retirement. Barszcz has served for many years as a volunteer for the Juvenile Conference Committee.

Sports Teams Honored

The West Orange United Football Club U12 girls’ and West Orange Liverpool U11 boys’ soccer teams were honored for success in their respective leagues. The boys’ team was undefeated, with a record of 8 wins, 0 losses, and 2 ties, while the girls’ team posted a 10-0 record.

Downtown Alliance Website Launches

West Orange Township Council President Jerry Guarino announced that the Downtown Alliance website has officially launched. The website URL is

Save the Date

The next Township Council meeting will be held on July 21, at 6:30 p.m.

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