Firefighter of The Year Honored by The Independent Insurance Agents of Houston
Today, July 18, 2012, the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston (IIAH) honored Firefighter EMT Jared Keith as the Firefighter of The Year, from four Houston firefighter finalists during a luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant in the Galleria area. This is the 34th year IIAH has worked in conjunction with HFD to recognize the commitment of firefighters and paramedics who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in emergency situations.
Firefighter EMT Jared Keith - Just after 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 28th, 2011, Firefighter Jared Keith was traveling south bound on the 610 Loop when he came upon a motor vehicle accident involving a pick-up and a large truck. Although he was off-duty, he stopped to render aid and call 9-1-1. The pickup had rear-ended the large truck and caught fire.
The driver of the pickup truck was trapped inside the vehicle. Firefighter Keith had no choice but to help the victim crawl out through the window. Although the driver was responsive and able to follow simple directions, he made no attempt to exit the vehicle. As the smoke and fire steadily grew, Firefighter Keith pulled the driver out through the window and assisted him to safety.
After the driver was placed out of harm’s way, he told Firefighter Keith there was a pistol still in the vehicle. Firefighter Keith quickly donned his bunker coat and returned to the truck. He located the pistol and removed it so it would not be a danger to responding personnel.
HFD Engine 45 arrived to find the occupant safe and the entire engine and passenger compartments of the truck involved in heavy fire. If not for the efforts of Firefighter Keith, the driver would likely have perished.
The Houston Fire Department Valor and Service Awards Committee presented the Medal of Valor to Firefighter Jared Keith on April 28, 2012.
This year's finalists also included:
Captain David Pate - On December 29, 2011, Engine 25 was dispatched to a house fire in the 3300 block of McGowen. Upon arrival at the location, the crew of Engine 25 found a single story home involved with heavy fire. To make matters worse, bystanders reported that there were multiple children trapped inside the burning home. Fortunately, two Houston police officers were already on scene and assisted with alerting and rescuing the residents. Captain David Pate immediately went into action, reporting their findings and ordering an attack line deployed as he sized-up the building. Captain Pate quickly entered through a window and searched the smoke-filled room for the victim. He found one teenage girl, unconscious, on the floor of the bedroom. He carried her to the window and out of the building into the waiting arms of the police officers. The girl was treated for burns and smoke inhalation before being transported to the hospital.
Senior Communication Captain David Keller, Jr.- In September of 2011, fires began popping up in George Bush Park, in far west Houston. Just before midnight on September 15, Engine 86 was dispatched to an unknown “check for fire” event which turned out to be another grass fire in the park. Two days prior, a major fire ran through the park and the hotspots from that fire were finally being extinguished. Senior Communication’s Captain David Keller contacted the Chief Communications Officer at the Houston Emergency Center about the fire and then began reviewing the 9-1-1 records and recordings with the Houston Police Department. They discovered that an unknown individual had made a radio transmission on Tac Channel A-1 and had also called in and talked to one of the Customer Service Operators. Captain Keller worked with the 9-1-1 call-takers and the HFD call-takers to locate any additional information that would assist HPD and HFD to locate and identify the unknown person. This information was promptly relayed to HFD arson and HPD. The individual was arrested and was found in possession of stolen HFD property including a bunker coat, fire helmet and possibly a radio. Since this arrest there have been no more fires at George Bush Park.
Engineer Operator/EMT Scotch Blair - During the heavy rain and flooding experienced by the City on January 9, 2012, HFD was dispatched to 1,119 incidents with more than 2,000 responses. (With a majority of the calls for service being dispatched between 0930 to 2030 hours, during the most intense time of the storm.) The flooding affected our entire Community resulting in 141 water rescues, four of those being major rescues requiring boats and special equipment to remove our citizens to safety. On that day, water started coming farther and farther up into Peck Elementary School. The fire trucks were there, but there was one person who was across the street, and he was helping the students; Engineer Operator Scotch Blair. He went back and forth rescuing about 25 children. Houston Engineer Operator Scotch Brown went forward over and above what we normally think of as the line of duty and rescued the children with disabilities, very severe disabilities at Peck Elementary from the flood waters of that day. He put the children on his back with some weighing as many as 120 pounds.
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Photo: The Independent Insurance Agents of Houston named the IIAH Firefighter of the Firefighter of The Year, from four Houston firefighter finalists during a luncheon at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant in the Galleria area, today, July 18, 2012. .Pictured (Left to Right) Engineer Operator/EMT Scotch Blair; Senior Communication Captain David Keller, Jr.; Captain David Pate and Firefighter EMT Jared Keith (named Firefighter of the Year).