Each year, at the annual Fire Department Open House, the Sterling Heights Fire Department recognizes citizens, other city employees and Fire Department employees, who in the last year have done some exceptional things, over and above what they do each day
The Sterling Heights Fire Department is able to save many lives each year as well as making a huge difference in the lives of those who are sick or injured as well as protecting a significant amount of property.
"We operate as a team and we recognize the importance that the extension of our team, in the form of our residents, Police Officers and Dispatchers has on the outcome of our service," said Fire Chief Chris Martin. "There is just no way we can recognize everyone for what they have done and the following awards represent just a few of those who have helped us deliver the exceptional service we are known for."
The Award Ceremony will take place at 12:00 p.m. during the Open House on Sunday, October 8, 2017. The Open House takes place at Fire Station #4 on 15 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr, across from Sterling Heights High School, and runs from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Exceptional Civilian Service Awards:
Jacob Pawlik, a 17-year-old resident of Sterling Heights, will receive the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his actions on August 31, 2017. Jacob was at his home when a neighbor was pinned underneath his vehicle that fell on him while he was working on it. Jacob wasted no time in retrieving a floor jack and using it to lift the car off of his neighbor, saving his life.
Carol Niemasz, of Sterling Heights will receive the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for her actions on August 28, 2017. A fire started outside of her neighbor’s house and was spreading up an exterior wall. Mrs. Niemasz noticed the fire, called 911 and then, with the help of a yard maintenance crew, stretched her garden hose to her neighbor’s house and extinguished the fire.
Susan Pendygraft, of New Baltimore will receive the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for her actions on August 26, 2017. Susan was dining at the Country Cabin Restaurant in Sterling Heights, when another patron, a 15-year-old male, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed to the ground. Susan wasted no time and jumped into action, assessing the situation and beginning CPR. Susan continued CPR until relieved by three Sterling Heights Police Officers. The young man was eventually revived and has made a full recovery.
Fire Department Commendation Awards:
On July 18, 2017 the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a significant fire at Buff Whelan Chevrolet. This incident rose to a 4th alarm fire and required a significant amount of resources from other departments in Sterling Heights and over a dozen other Fire Departments in Macomb County. The coordination of this response would not have been possible without the exceptional work from the staff at COMTEC. The following Dispatchers will be awarded with the Sterling Heights Fire Department Commendation Award:
Renee Sutton Emily Hulbert Samantha Chauvin
Patrick Connelly Sara Collins Jody Gorney
Eddie Oworoetop Justin Porter Jon Piornak
Leah Monacelli Andrew Ruddy Angela Elsey (Dispatch Supervisor)
Sterling Heights Police Officers Kyle Johnson and Phillip Descamps will be awarded the Sterling Heights Fire Department Commendation Award for their actions on July 8, 2017. While on patrol, they responded to an unresponsive male. When they arrived on scene they found the victim not breathing, possibly from an overdose. They began CPR on the victim and administered Narcan. The Fire Department took over care upon their arrival and the victim was eventually revived.
Sterling Heights Police Officers Michael Conley, Dale Schmaltz and Kevin Archer will be awarded the Sterling Heights Fire Department Commendation Award for their actions on July 8, 2017. They responded to the call of an unresponsive person and upon arrival took over CPR on a 15-year-old male in cardiac arrest. The Fire Department took over care upon their arrival and the victim was eventually revived.
Fire Chief’s Award:
On November 1, 2017 the Sterling Heights Fire Department will begin providing the transportation service of all sick and injured residents and visitors to area hospitals when 911 is called. This program is perhaps the most important increase in service in the history of the Sterling Heights Fire Department. While there have been many people within the department working diligently on this project for the last 14 months, Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Phillips has gone over and above with his efforts to make this implementation a success. For his actions, he will be awarded the Fire Chief’s Award.
Meritorious Unit Citations, Medal of Valor, Distinguished Service Awards:
On April 28, 2017 the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a structure fire with reports of people trapped. Upon arrival, Sterling Heights Engine 5 was confronted with a heavily involved fire on the first floor of the house that was spreading quickly. To make matters worse, some of the home’s occupants met with the crew of Engine 5 and informed them that a 17-year-old male was trapped in the bedroom above the fire. Without hesitation and at great risk to their own safety, the crew of Engine 5 laddered the second floor window and Lieutenant Dave Pressel entered the structure to search for the trapped victim. The victim was quickly located and brought to the window to be removed by awaiting firefighters. The firefighters worked gallantly to revive the victim, but sadly he passed away despite their efforts. For their actions, the crew of Engine 5, Lt. Dave Pressel, Fire Engine Operator Phil Ioco and Firefighter Thomas Nowicki will be awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation. For his specific actions in risking his own life in an attempt to save another’s, Lt. Dave Pressel will be awarded the Medal of Valor.
On May 17, 2017 the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a significant apartment fire. The fire spread very quickly due to high winds and building construction principles. While most residents of the apartment buildings affected were able to self-rescue, there were a few that could not. First to arrive on the scene was Engine 4 and in the process of stretching hoselines to stop the advancement of the fire and protect lives, they were alerted to there being a trapped resident in a first floor apartment. The crew gained access to the apartment from an exterior window and removed a 68-year-old female who only suffered minor injuries. For his actions with this rescue, being assisted by Lt. Steve Kohut and Sgt. Tracy Davis, Firefighter/Paramedic Craig Ballard will be awarded with the Distinguished Service Award.
This fire rose to a second alarm and every responder was working diligently as a team to slow the fire and remove any other trapped occupants. Unfortunately, they were not able to get to one resident in time and sadly she perished in the fire. However, many did their best to rescue her from the fire in time. For their actions, all responders will be awarded with the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Assistant Chief Rob Duke Battalion Chief Ed Miller Battalion Chief Mark Docherty Captain James Boylan Captain Jeff Duncan Fire Inspector Don Adsit
Fire Inspector Patrick Ranes Training Captain Shawn Allen Lieutenant Michael Solomon Lieutenant Steve Kohut Lieutenant Kelly Burgan Lieutenant Vincent Schwartz Lieutenant Dave Pressel Lieutenant Darryl Curtis Sergeant Bryan Richter Sergeant Lorne Farrelll
Sergeant Tracy Davis Sergeant Dave Cueny
Fire Engine Operator Phil Ioco Fire Engine Operator Frank Binno
Fire Engine Operator Eric MacKenzie Firefighter Matt Schodowski Firefighter Tom Nowicki Firefighter Craig Ballard
Firefighter Joe Helmick Firefighter Kori Sinauskas
Firefighter Sean Milliken Firefighter Geoff Campau
On June 21, several units of the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a horrific motor vehicle accident, after two vehicles collided head on at a moderate rate of speed. The arriving firefighters were confronted with several critically injured patients, many of whom were trapped in their vehicles requiring extensive extrication. The crews worked feverishly to treat and remove the victims and get them to the hospital. One critically injured person required very advanced procedures on the way to the hospital after being extricated. These procedures were performed by Firefighter/Paramedic David Cirka. Unfortunately, that victim did not survive, but not from a lack of trying. For his actions, Firefighter/Paramedic David Cirka will be awarded the Distinguished Service Award. In addition, the entire group of Firefighters that responded will be awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Captain David Brantley Lieutenant Charles Wasil Lieutenant Darryl Curtis Lieutenant Vincent Schwartz Sergeant Dan Zehnder Sergeant Lorne Farrell Sergeant Michael White Fire Engine Operator Ryan Sears Fire Engine Operator Brian Kensicki Firefighter Tom Smith Firefighter Brandyn Fecteau Firefighter Stephen Stover Firefighter David Cirka Firefighter Stephen Zawicki Firefighter Adam Gainer EMS Coordinator Kevin St. Peter
On July 18, 2017 the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a significant fire at Buff Whelan Chevrolet. This fire rose to a 4th alarm and took hours to bring under control. While there was extensive losses suffered, those losses could have been much worse if not for the combined efforts of all the responders from Sterling Heights and from throughout Macomb County. For their hard work, all Firefighters from Sterling Heights who responded to that incident will receive the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Battalion Chief Mark Docherty Battalion Chief Ed Miller
Battalion Chief Tim Bade Assistant Chief Rob Duke
Inspector Don Adsit Training Captain Shawn Allen
Ems Coordinator Kevin St Peter Captain Dave Brantley
Lieutenant Charles Wasil Lieutenant Shawn Misener
Lieutenant Joe Scane Lieutenant Will Walker
Lieutenant Darryl Curtis Sergeant Dan Zehnder
Sergeant Lorne Farrell Sergeant Tracy Davis
Sergeant Michael White Sergeant Dave Cueny
Sergeant Ken Kogelmann Fire Engine Operator Jason Myers
Fire Engine Operator Scott Widzinski Fire Engine Operator Ryan Sears
Fire Engine Operator Brian Kensicki Fire Engine Operator Eric Mackenzie
Fire Engine Operator Ryan Glick Firefighter Tom Smith
Firefighter Brandyn Fecteau Firefighter Stephen Stover
Firefighter David Cirka Firefighter Justin Emerson
On August 21, 2017 several members of the Sterling Heights Fire Department responded to a trench collapse as members of the Macomb County Technical Rescue Team. This trench collapse entrapped two victims, burying them above the waste and leaving them in grave danger. These responders were among a larger group who employed their vast training and skills sets to safely stabilize the situation allowing for the safe removal of the victims and saving their lives, without any injuries to responders. For their actions that day which resulted in saving two lives, the responders will receive the Meritorious Unit Citation.
Battalion Chief Ed Miller Battalion Chief Tim Bade
Training Captain Shawn Allen Lieutenant Jeff Vergauwen
Sergeant Tracy Davis Firefighter Matthew Lukas
Firefighter Jonathan Feil Firefighter Stephen Cloos
Firefighter Lance Stevens
Firefighter of the Year
The 2017 Sterling Heights Firefighter of the Year is awarded to Lieutenant Dave Pressel. Lieutenant Pressel has shown true leadership day in and day out. He has an extensive history of providing great service and ensuring that the crews working with him do the same. He is constantly motivating and working with others to improve and is well deserving of this award.
For more information, contact the Fire Department Administration office at (586) 446-2950.