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Home Police & Fire Firefighters Recognized for Heroics During Hurricane Ida

Firefighters Recognized for Heroics During Hurricane Ida

(PHOTO: Rye FD Captain John McDwyer with Life Saving Award winners Fire Fighters Salvatore Inguanti, Michael Stoddart, John Cotter, Peter Kennedy and Clyde Pitts.)
(PHOTO: Rye FD Captain John McDwyer with Life Saving Award winners Fire Fighters Salvatore Inguanti, Michael Stoddart, John Cotter, Peter Kennedy and Clyde Pitts.)

Five Rye firefighters have been recognized for their heroics during the night of August 31st when Hurricane Ida dropped several inches of rain in a handful of hours in Rye, endangering residents and causing widespread property damage.

Rye Fire Fighters John Cotter, Clyde Pitts, Peter Kennedy, Michael Stoddart, and Salvatore Inguanti were awarded Life Saving awards at this year’s Fire Department Inspection dinner held on December 14, 2021. “These efforts are a result of a very close working relationship between the Rye Police and Fire Departments, as well as the City’s Department of Public Works which supports the team with equipment and personnel,” said Rye FD Captain John McDwyer. “It is truly an honor to have such heroes working in our community.”

(PHOTO: Assembled at the 2021 Inspection Dinner to honor the Life Saving Award winners were Rye Fire Department chaplain Andrea Raynor, Rye Mayor Josh Cohn, Volunteer Chief Danny Bochicchio, Captain John McDwyer, City Manager Greg Usry and Director of Public Safety Mike Kopy.)
(PHOTO: Assembled at the 2021 Inspection Dinner to honor the Life Saving Award winners were Rye Fire Department chaplain Andrea Raynor, Rye Mayor Josh Cohn, Volunteer Chief Danny Bochicchio, Captain John McDwyer, City Manager Greg Usry and Director of Public Safety Mike Kopy.)

The Night of Hurricane Ida

On the night of August 31, 2021, members of the Rye Fire Department responded to several water emergency calls. These calls varied from flooding of basements, occupied cars stuck it the water, medical calls, fuel oil in the water, and swift water rescues. The current that night was very strong and residents who were out found themselves in trouble when they realized the water was stronger and deeper than they thought. As a result the City of Rye swift water team was deployed to several emergency calls within the City. This team is a joint rescue team composed of police and fire members.

The Life Saving Rescues

Rye Fire Fighter Clyde Pitts - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter Clyde Pitts.)

Rye Fire Fighter John Cotter - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter John Cotter.)

Fire Fighters Pitts and Cotter launched one of the department’s inflatable boats at the intersection of Purchase Street and Highland Rd. A woman was trying to wade through the flood waters and was swept away by the current. Two well-meaning citizens attempted to help her but also put themselves in danger. Fire Fighters Pitts and Cotter responded to where these two men were having difficulty staying above water; they were pulled into the boat and safely brought to land. The firefighters then responded to the area where the woman was last seen. She had been swept down river into a group of trees where she was able to grab on and wait for help. Firefighters Pitts and Cotter made contact with her and brought her to land. All three of these residents refused medical attention.

Rye Fire Fighter Michael Stoddart - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter Michael Stoddart.)

Rye Fire Fighter Salvatore Iguanti - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter Salvatore Iguanti.)

While these rescues were underway a short distance up stream Fire Fighter Stoddart and Fire Fighter Inguanti were notified of a woman, who while attempting to rescue her dog, was swept away by the swift moving waters. They began looking for her while walking down stream and were able to locate her hanging on to a small branch from the shoreline. Fire Fighter Stoddart entered the swift water after being tied off to a rescue rope held by Fire Fighter Inguanti. They were successful at removing her from the waters but unfortunately the dog was not located. The woman received medical treatment for exposure and released from the scene.

Rye Fire Fighter Peter Kennedy - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter Peter Kennedy.)

Rye Fire Fighter Michael Stoddart - Life Saving Awards 12/14/2021
(PHOTO: Rye Fire Fighter Michael Stoddart.)

Later that evening the department was notified of a teenager trapped in a basement with rising waters. While she was attempting to get out of the basement her wrist was broken and the situation escalated into a Medical emergency. Fire Fighters Kennedy and Stoddart deployed an inflatable boat from the Boston Post Road side of Orchard Ave. It was a challenging rescue due to the swift moving waters but they were successful at the removal of the patient as well as the rest of the family.

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