Photo: JPCA President Tony Nunziato, FDNY Captain Brian Gill, his son Aidan, 1st VP John Killcommons, wife Sarah, mother Joan and daughter Ashling
At JPCA’s September general membership meeting, President Tony Nunziato and First VP and retired FDNY member John Killcommons presented FDNY Captain Brian P. Gill, a Middle Village resident assigned to Ladder Company 47 in the Bronx, with our Hero Award. This came a year after Capt. Gill’s act of heroism which earned him the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Medal. The UFOA details his feat:
September 25, 2018, 0112 hours, Box 75-4603, Bronx
In any fire, there are circumstances that contribute to a tough job. In the early-morning hours of September 15, 2018, Ladder 47 members encountered several circumstances that quickly piled up, leading all to quickly comprehend that they were in for a long night.
At 1:12 am, the tones rang out for a fire in a 12th-floor apartment of a 13-story multiple dwelling. Ladder 47 responded within three minutes and went to work. As Captain Brian P. Gill and his forcible entry team–FFs Kevin J. Dorry, Jr., (forcible entry) and Pedro J. Velazquez (extinguisher), Engine 64–entered the lobby, the Captain heard Engine 64’s chauffeur request augmentation. Immediately, the Officer realized that water would be delayed.
Captain Gill and his forcible entry team took the elevator to the 10th floor. They got the layout of the hallway, located the H line of apartments and proceeded to the 12th floor, the fire floor. Upon reaching the 12th floor, Captain Gill received a report from Battalion Chief William Bonasera, Battalion 20, warning members that high winds were present outside and to proceed with caution. This was confirmed when Captain Gill reached the fire apartment and observed heavy smoke pushing into the hallway from around the doorjamb.
The scene now was set: Water would be delayed, there was potential for a wind-impacted fire and Captain Gill and his team might face blowtorch conditions when the fire apartment door was opened. As soon as the door was popped, the hallway quickly filled with smoke. FF Dorry immediately found the first victim behind the apartment door and removed the woman to the stairway. Captain Gill and FF Velazquez then entered the apartment. Immediately in front of them was a wall of fire. Captain Gill ordered FF Velazquez to use his extinguisher to hold the fire while he crawled by to search rooms in the rear of the apartment.
Captain Gill crawled over clutter and found a hallway leading to the rest of the apartment. He reached the rear bedroom and found a semi-conscious male. The victim was disoriented and combative. Captain Gill took control of the situation, grabbed the man and proceeded back past the fire to the apartment door, shielding the man from the heat with his own body. Captain Gill met Engine 64 at the apartment door and crawled past the nozzle team.
When the man was removed to the hallway, he told Captain Gill to save “my wife and baby.” Captain Gill asked where they were in the apartment. The man told Captain Gill they were in the bedroom next to his. Captain Gill handed the victim off to members in the hallway and returned to the apartment to search. Back in the apartment, he encountered Captain Harry H. Poole, Jr., Engine 64, kneeling over the third victim in the hallway. FF Velazquez assisted with the rescue and Captain Gill continued the search for a baby. As it turned out, the third victim was a teen-aged boy, the “baby” to whom the man was referring. All victims had been located and rescued.
Captain Brian P. Gill’s actions in severe conditions exemplify the determination of FDNY members to do whatever it takes to save those in danger. For his bravery, he was presented with the 2019 Uniformed Fire Officers Association Medal.
Thank you, Captain Gill for your selfless service.