GRAMERCY — Firefighter Kevin Hogan rushed into a burning Sunset Park apartment building five different times last March and rescued 11 people—including three children and a pregnant woman.
“Sixty-six individual medals, four group medals, all incredible stories of rescue,” Bloomberg said. “And most incredible of all, they don’t even begin to tell the whole story of what you do year in and year out to keep this city safe.”
Hogan was awarded the James Gordon Bennett Medal and New York State Honorary Fire Chiefs Association for his heroism last year.
“I did my job knowing that if anything happened to me, those guys had my back,” said Hogan, of Ladder Co. 114, referring to the six other crews that helped battle the blaze with him.
“That gave me the confidence to go in and do what I had to do. Without those guys, none of this would’ve been possible.”
Cassano praised the honorees for their valor and said that they represent what New York is about.
“Today, we’re one big happy family sharing in a great FDNY tradition that dates back 143 years,” Cassano said. “Day in and day out, you continue to work hard and do the most rewarding job you can do—helping people in a time of danger, helping people in a time of need.”
Firefighter Sean O’Mallon, of Engine Company 201 in Brooklyn, received the Thomas F. Dougherty Medal for his courage in Sunset Park that day.
O’Mallon said that when the call came in about 5 a.m., he had a “gut feeling” it was going to be the biggest blaze he’d ever encountered.
“There was fire in every window going up the stairway,” he said. “I just kind of took a deep breath and knew I had a job to do.”
He added that being recognized by the mayor and the fire commissioner was something he never imagined would happen.
“I never pictured myself being in this situation, so it really is amazing to be a part of it,” he said. “I’m still kind of absorbing and taking everything in, trying to exhale and enjoy it.”
Emergency Medical Service Lieutenant Derrick Simpkins received the first Chief Ulysses Grant Leadership Medal for his rescue of a Mill Basin construction worker last July.
“We were told by the construction workers that there was a person up there that was injured,” Simpkins said. “Without hesitation, me and my boys went on up and were very careful. We did what we had to do to save his life.”
Bloomberg said he wanted to make sure the firefighters realized how much the city depends on them.
“From me, from all New Yorkers, you have our deepest thanks,” he said. “Know that today and every day, New Yorkers thank their lucky stars that you have our back.”