FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – The Fresno Fire Department honored and recognized members of the department – and heroic members of the community – at a ceremony at Fresno City Hall on Wednesday.
Department officials also recognized the promotion of a battalion chief, a firefighter specialist and the swearing-in of three new fire prevention inspectors.
“If we were able to recognize people for doing their job we would be here on a daily basis giving out awards,” said Chief Billy P. Alcorn. “Delivering them to hundreds of members of our department. So that’s why we do these things twice a year – and we really try to get the ones that are a little unique little above and beyond.”
The Fresno Fire Department presented unit citations and clinical save awards – and honored three with Civilian Lifesaving Awards, an award reserved for individuals directly responsible for saving a human life.
Among the civilian awards was Michael Garcia. On November 13, 2022, was sleeping in his home when he was awakened by his father after smoke was seen coming outside the house next door – which was his grandmother’s house. He quickly entered the home where he found his grandma sleeping on the couch. While he began to assist her with evacuation he noticed a fire coming from a door inside the residence. Garcia quickly moved his grandmother into a wheelchair and evacuated her from the house safely. The fire department says they then arrived at the scene and said the fire was being fed from by a free-flowing gas meter and wind. Firefighters say if it wasn’t for Michael’s quick thinking, this incident would have had a much different outcome.
Awards were also given out on behalf of the Stockton Fire Department to members of the Fresno Fire Department for their support of the tragic line-of-duty death of Captain Max Fortuna on January 31, 2022. The Stockton Fire Department says Captain Fortuna was shot and killed while serving his community at a commercial structure fire.
The Fresno Fire Department says they provided an engine company to cover a fire station within the City of Stockton in February 2022 to allow the Stockton firefighters an opportunity to attend grief counseling. Fresno Fire personnel Brian E. Price, Timothy R. Pilegard, Chad R. Brisendine, Sam Killou, Jeffery M. Roe, Gabriel R. Lopez, and Trevor A. Winters were all honored in their support of the Stockton Fire Department.
The award ceremony was presented by the Fresno Fire Department along with Fresno Council members and the Mayor of Fresno.