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Bravery, dedication to be honored today by Sparks Fire Dept.
by Tribune Staff
Apr 19, 2012 | 1868 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — On duty and off, trained firefighter and average Joe will be honored toddy in the Sparks Fire Department’s annual awards ceremony.

The ceremony, held 4 p.m. at the department’s headquarters station at 1605 Victorian Ave., will recognize outstanding actions and performances by fire department employees, local citizens and businesses during the past year. Friends and family members, as well as the public, are encouraged to attend.

Fire apparatus operator Tyler Carson wasn’t working on Nov. 27, 2011 as he drove home from the store with his family. As they drove, Carson noticed a column of smoke that appeared larger than would would normally come from a fireplace chimney. He drove to the area and discovered what appeared to be an attic fire at 1901 Fargo Way. Carson called the fire into dispatch while pounding on the door to alert the occupants, who were unaware of the fire. He also assisted in the evacuation of all of the occupants.

“His quick actions helped to save lives and property,” Fire Marshal Bob King wrote in a press release.

In another act of drive-by heroism, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Walsh were headed home after birthday party on May 29, 2011, when they spotted a rollover accident at the intersection of Baring Boulevard and Round Mountain Road so they had their driver turn around so they could help the victims. The Walshes helped fire crews extricate one victim and rendered aid to both victims of the crash.

“Their initiative and willingness to help provided potentially life-saving care to the accessible patient,” King wrote. “Their presence on the scene and willingness to use their medical training and experience to provide assistance to one patient allowed the fire department crew to concentrate on extricating the critically injured victim still trapped in the vehicle.”

The Patricks will receive the Citizen Commendation Letter and Certificate for their efforts.

Another resident, Alberto Cruiz, will be recognized for his help on Oct. 26, 2011. He saw smoke coming from the house at 5161 Palo Alto Circle, entered the back yard to hook up an outside garden hose and fought the fire through the window until it was out, saving most of the contents of the house by keeping the fire contained to the kitchen. Cruiz will receive the Citizen Commendation Letter and Certificate for his assistance.

Five employees will receive commendation bars and certificates for their outstanding dedication to duty in aiding citizens in need and in helping to keep the citizens of Sparks fire safe.

On Dec. 20, 2011, Captain Thom Kowatch came to the aid of a gentleman at Walley’s Resort who slipped on the icy pavement and violently struck his head. He directed others to call 911 while he provided assistance, maintaining constant updates of information to the operator. His transfer of care to the East Fork Fire Department upon their arrival provided seamless care for the patient, King wrote. Captain Kowatch also displayed great skill and compassion with the man’s wife and two grandchildren, who were present and obviously concerned, talking them through the events and the actions that were taken.

Captain Jim Reid was involved in the design, planning, construction and delivery of the Type 6 brush truck acquired by the Sparks Fire Department in December 2011, and served as liaison between Lennar homes, who provided the funding for the apparatus, and Rosenbauer, the apparatus manufacturer, to ensure that our performance criteria were met while staying within the budget given.

Captain Jake Conely’s efforts allowed the department to obtain an Assistance to Firefighter Grant to replace all station, mobile and handheld radios. This highly competitive grant allows the fire department to replace old, unsupported radio equipment, for which no other city funds were available.

Firefighter Mike Foster created the department’s new map book. Without the GIS Department’s help and with no IT support, he took up the task of revamping the map books, spending countless hours learning the ARC map program.

Office Specialist Debbie Wilson will be awarded for her exemplary initiative in helping to keep the department’s information up-to-date for the department and for the public at large. She volunteered to take on the task of revising the website to fit the new format and became the go-to person for questions and help by other departments in the city. She also converted all of the prevention inspection, investigation, public fire safety education and plan review stats from annual to fiscal calculations and created comprehensive charts for the annual report.

Captain Joe Warner is the department’s Firefighter of the Year and will be awarded the Firefighter of the Year plaque, a commendation bar and certificate at the ceremony.

Jenny Lewis will receive the City Employee Distinguished Service Ribbon for her tireless assistance to the Sparks Fire Department during promotional exams. The hours that she devoted to the tests were long and hard. Her aid in ensuring a valid and reliable testing process was invaluable and her professionalism and devotion to duty were outstanding, King said.
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