It is with great pride that we would like to congratulate our newest fully certified firefighter, Christian “Bull” Montero! Chris moved here from New York City in 2013, became a certified mechanic, and went to work at a local auto shop. He then wasted no time in joining the King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company and set to earning his Firefighter I via the Delaware County certification program, completing 178 hours of education in under half a year of night and weekend classes. A very active member, Chris has no intention of stopping there; with advanced rope rescue and EMT classes in his sights, we have high hopes for this hardworking addition to the company!
On behalf of the officers and members of KPFVC we would like to congratulate Firefighter Sam Rapine and Firefighter Michael Massaad for successfully completing their National Firefighter 1 program at the Montgomery County Fire Academy. This past year both Firefighter’s Massaad and Rapine joined as probationary members almost one year ago and have been actively pursuing their training to become certified firefighters. They completed approximately 178 hours of training between weekday night classes and all day weekend classes at the academy. They were amongst a class of 22 who participated in this certification program from different fire companies within Montgomery County along with individuals from other companies outside of the county as well. We are proud to bring on two more certified firefighters in the membership and another two dedicated individuals to the active brigade. Congratulations MEN!
Channel 6 Action News Story:
On Wednesday evening, November 4th the firefighting brigade embarked on its weekly fire company training. 18 of the bravest were treated to some classroom and then hands on forcible entry training. Norristown Fire Department Assistant Chief, Richard Lockhart was our instructor for the evening. Rich did a great job explaining the various entry challenges firefighters face, whether at a residential or commercial property. The crew then went through several varying entry evolutions with a forced entry door prop. Crews used various hand tools as well hand-held hydraulic devices. The crew expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Rich’s efforts in helping us hone our truck company skills.
On Monday, November 2nd the members said to goodbye to former Chief Engineer and good friend Michael Santillo Sr. Mike was one of those guys who could fix just about anything. Firefighter Dave Gallagher said it best about Mike’s abilities. “No matter what the issue, Mike was like MacGyver and got it working!” Although Mike’s accomplishments are long, he served the township as a police officer as well as his other volunteer service.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis Mike continued studying and earned a Doctorate (Summa Cum Laude) in Transportation Science. Michael was a charter member of the Upper Merion Township Transportation Authority and was elected chairman when it was formed in the 1980‘s, and remained in that capacity until his death.
Mike’s two sons also followed in his footsteps and served with the KPVFC. Mike Jr. served as communications officer and Lieutenant for several years and Chris served as Chief Engineer as well.
In a fitting tribute to Mike, we were able to post his passing on our new digital sign. Thanks to Firefighter Tripper Brown for getting the message and Mike’s photo on that tribute.
This past Friday, active firefighter and former Assistant Chief, Matt Gallagher and Miss Lauren Gilroy tied the knot. The couple shared their nuptials at the elegant Belle Voir Manor in Bensalem, PA. Their vows were exchanged and the wedding officiated by Matt’s Father, the Honorable Magisterial District Judge, James P. Gallagher. Yes, that James Gallagher, our Fire Chief. The newlyweds honeymooned in beautiful Jamaica. The entire membership of the fire company extent our congratulations and best wishes to the new couple.
Thursday evening October 15th, KPVFC Engine Company Lieutenant, Alex Clark, joined the ranks as one of Upper Merion’s finest. Public safety is not new to Alex’s resume, as he has spent four plus years as an active firefighter and now lieutenant with the men and women of station 47. Alex also spent his last two summers as a patrolman with the Wildwood (by the sea), New Jersey police department. Alex is a hometown lad having graduated from Upper Merion High School and then graduating this past May from the main line’s prestigious Villanova University with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Alex’s law enforcement experiences at the shore and of course back home in KoP will surely help him when he hits the streets of UMT. Obviously his swearing in was a special event with many of his brother and sister firefighters looking on as well as his father and other family members. Topping off the event, Alex was sworn in by the honorable, Magisterial District Judge, James P. Gallagher, who by the way is the same Jim Gallagher that serves as our Fire Chief.
The entire company is proud of Alex’s accomplishments and we look forward to seeing him patrolling our neighborhoods and keeping us safe as UMPD Badge #86.
Just before 10AM on Friday, October 2nd, volunteers from Station 47 were alerted to respond to a vehicle rescue with a car trapped under a tractor trailer in the unit block of 1st Avenue. Squad 47 (D/C Camarda) and Rescue 47 (A/C Molchany) arrived on location with Medic 317 (Lafayette Ambulance) and Upper Merion Police and confirmed the initial report. D/C Camarda assumed command and requested the next due Engine, bringing Quint 31 (Bridgeport Fire Co. #1).
As crews from 47 began working on several extrication plans and while stabilizing both vehicles, command requested the balance of the Southeastern Montgomery County Technical Rescue Task Force (SEMCTRTF) bringing Rescue 27 (Fairmount Engine Co. #2) and Rescue 21 (Penn Wynne Fire Company) to the scene. Crews worked seemlessly to stabilize both vehicles. Once stabilized crews popped the passenger side door, cut a 3rd door on the passenger side, and cut out the passenger seat back to gain access to the patient. Once there was enough room to access the patient, the patient was carefully removed and transported by Medic 317 to the local trauma center.
Working as part of the SEMCTRTF, all responding agencies performed extremely well together to handle a difficult rescue situation. Job well done!
The King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company received the Firemen’s Association of the State of Pennsylvania Robert Little Memorial Fire Safety Education First Place Award for communities over 10,000 population, at the annual convention of Association in Lake Harmony PA. KPVFC President Bill Jenaway is shown accepting the award from Association leadership. The award recognizes organizations who have exceptional fire safety education programs using multiple methods to communicate fire safety education and have a resultant low fire experience.
On Saturday, August 29th, 5 members from the KPVFC firefighting brigade attended the Into the Smoke Training Day (http://www.intothesmoke.tv/training-day) held at the West Chester, PA Fire Training campus.
Into the Smoke started as a Web Series following some of the nation’s busiest volunteer fire companies including the Bladensburg Fire Co. (Prince George Co. 9) in Maryland, and the Christiana Fire Company (New Castle Co. 12) in Delaware. The crew of Into the Smoke has expanded to an elite group of firefighters from up and down the east coast including members from the District of Columbia Fire & EMS (DCFD), Kentland Vol. Fire Co. (Prince George Co. 33), Morningside Vol. Fire Co. (Prince George Co. 27), Christiana Fire Co. (New Castle Co. 12) and Philadelphia Fire Department to name a few. These members have come together to put some of the best aggressive hands on fire training that is available.
The members from King of Prussia Fire participated in the Engine Company Operations portion on Saturday. The members went through the Heat Lab created by members of the DCFD training academy. During this exercise the members were able to watch a fire go through the entire growth stage of growth. This “lab” gave a real world depiction of what signs to look for when a flashover is approaching. Members also ran drills on running a 300′ 1.75 attack line. The afternoon was set for live burn scenarios. Members participated in aggressively stretching hose lines and extinguishing fires in basements, and other parts of residential dwellings.
Each member walked away with a better understanding of fire behavior and different ways to attack fires. All these skills and knowledge gained on this day are invaluable to not only saving victims that may be effected by fire, but also how to keep ourselves safe while operating in a burning structure. The members would like to thank the Into the Smoke staff for the excellent training opportunity.
On Tuesday, August 25th at approximately 4:45AM the King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched with Engine 47-1 and Tower 47 to assist the Swedesburg Volunteer Fire Company (Station 49) on a dwelling fire in the 500 block of Dartmouth Dr. Tower 47 (A/C Molchany) and Engine 47-1 (D/C Camarda) each responded with a crew of four.
Chief 49 arrived on location to confirm a working fire in the rear bedroom on the second floor of the house, and assumed command. Tower 47 was the first unit to arrive and was quickly followed by Engine 47-1, Engine 32 (Goodwill Fire Co.) and units from Station 49. The crew from Tower 47 split up with Lt. Larry Durland and FF Bob Smull stretching a 1.75” line to the front door while A/C Molchany went to the rear of the structure with a ground ladder to provide outside ventilation.
The crew on the hose line made its way to the second floor and found the rear bedroom to be charged with smoke down to the floor with extreme heat conditions. As part of a coordinated attack, A/C Molchany provided horizontal ventilation from the outside, and the crew from Engine 47-1, Squirt 49 and Pipeline 49 went to the roof to provide vertical ventilation above the fire room. Upon opening up the room, the conditions became much more tenable to the crew working inside the structure. Firefighters from Engine 32 provided backup to the initial hose team and pulled the remaining ceiling to ensure that there wasn’t anymore fire in void spaces.
Additional crews from Lafayette Ambulance provided rehab support and Swedeland Volunteer Fire Company provided manpower at the scene. Crews remained on location for just over two hours with no injuries reported.
On Thursday, August 13, 2015 Rescue box 56-57 was struck at the intersection of Croton Road and South Warner Road. Rescue 47 (Lt. Griffith Jr.) and Engine 47-2 (FF Jenkins) responded out of the Allendale Road Station and Squad 47 (FF Raskiewicz) out of the Beidler Road Station. Rescue 47 was notified by Montgomery County Communications that a tree had come down in the area and has brought wires down and PECO was notified.
Prior to Rescue 47’s arrival, the unit was again updated that there was no longer a rescue, but the wires down created a bush fire in the area. Rescue 47 requested an engine company from Radnor Fire Company (Delaware County Sta. 15) for assistance with the brush fire and South Warner Road Command was established by Lieutenant 47-2. Members operating on the scene aggressively contained the fire with rakes and shovels until PECO was able to arrive and confirm that the electrical power lines were not dangerous to the members. Once PECO arrived and gave the confirmation units were able to extinguish the fire quickly with the use of hose lines stretched from Engine 47-2 and Radnor’s Engine 15-1.
Thank you to Radnor Fire Company, Upper Merion Police, and Lafayette Ambulance for your assistance during this incident.
Although Firefighter Bianca DeLuca is working 100 miles from home as a summer police officer, she was involved in an incident recently that required using the fire/rescue skills she learned here at the KPVFC.
As we reported last spring, FF DeLuca was hired as a summertime class-II patrolman with the Wildwood Crest Police Department and she is presently completing her second summer season there.
This past week, while on routine patrol, Bianca witnessed a two car accident at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Aster Road. Further investigation found a jeep on its side with two occupants trapped. Although the trapped driver and passenger were uninjured, the position of the vehicle precluded them from self-extrication.
Bianca immediately took control of the situation and assisted the occupants through the back hatch window of the unstable vehicle.
Obviously the officers and members are extremely proud of Bianca’s actions, but not surprised at all. We can’t wait for Labor Day to have her back and riding out of the Beidler Road station.
Way to go Bianca, great job, we’re very proud of you.
Scene photo credit to the Shore News Today/Wildwood Leader Edition
On Thursday evening, August 6th, the King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company was privileged to host the inaugural opening ceremony and keynote speaker for the first annual Keystone Firefighter Conference. To kick off the ceremony the KPVFC honor guard presented the colors. Immediately following the emcee for the evening, KPVFC’s President Dr. William Jenaway launched the conference’s first session, which was a panel discussion focused on recruitment and retention within the volunteer fire service. Amongst the panel members were representatives from Abington Township Fire Department, Flourtown Fire Company and King of Prussia Fire Company, represented by our own Fire Chief Jim Gallagher.
Following the recruitment and retention discussion, Dr. Jenaway graciously introduced the conference’s keynote speaker, Chief Bobby Halton ret. Chief Halton is the editor in chief of Fire Engineering magazine, the education director of the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC), and is also the Editorial Director for Fire Rescue and Fire Apparatus magazines as well as Firefighter Nation website. Chief Halton’s presentation was tailored to all volunteers and focused on the true meaning of duty, honor, and courage.
The officers and members of KPVFC would like to thank the conference organizers for the honor to host this inaguaral event and all visiting instructors and dignitaries including Pennsylvania’s state Fire Commissioner, Tim Solobay. We are looking forward to participating in the many conferences that lie ahead.
Only 27 hours into the month of August and already the volunteers of the KPVFC have responded to 8 calls for service. Along with the usual alarm system calls, we also were alerted to an outside electrical fire, an elevator rescue, a natural gas leak and of course 2 more dreaded mulch fires.
Upon our return from a mulch fire at the local Target Store this afternoon, the crew from Engine 47-2 was directed to the intersection of Wilson & Long Roads in the Valley Forge Homes Section for a cat trapped in a storm sewer.
Although it’s not uncommon for the brigade to be requested to rescue young Canadian Geese, we’ve also been summoned to the cat in the tree call, from time to time. However, a cat in the storm drain was definitely a first for the engine company crew.
After making quick work of removing the storm drain cover and accessing the situation, the crew was able to persuade the frightened feline to allow us to bring him to safety. Pumpkin was immediately reunited with his owner and of course allowed time to take a snap shot with the rescue crew.
Just when you thought that you you’ve seen it all, you catch a run like this.