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York City Fire/Rescue hands out awards, promotions

GREG GROSS
YorkDispatch

A group of York City firefighters rescued three people from the roof of a burning home. Another group rushed to help two people who were shot just outside of a fire station. A fire captain, who was off duty at the time, stopped to help a man injured in a motorcycle crash.

All were honored during the York City Fire/Rescue Services annual awards and promotions ceremony at city hall on Friday.

Chad Deardorff, who has been with the department 20 years, was promoted to deputy chief, the second highest rank in the department.

"There's days you miss being out on the street," he said. "It's exciting but there's a lot to learn."

Deardorff replaces Greg Halpin, who retired recently. During the ceremony, Halpin and other recent retirees were honored for their years of service. He was named the department's chief historian.

"You measure the department truly by the guys who work for it," he said, adding he's proud to have served with the city's current and retired firefighters.

Shooting: Back in May, a group of York City firefighters heard a commotion coming from a large crowd outside of the Vigilant/Union fire station in the 200 block of West Market Street.

Then the shots rang out. Bullets hit two people — a teen and an adult.

"Despite police not being on scene and a large crowd still present," the firefighters, without hesitation, grabbed medical gear and rushed to help the wounded, said Chief David Michaels, adding the firefighters also didn't know if the gunman was still in the crowd.

One of the victims was shot in his face and the other suffered a leg wound that was bleeding so profusely the firefighters had to apply a tourniquet.

"It was very serious," said Capt. William Sleeger Jr., one of the men who provided aid. "We do fire calls but we do a lot of other stuff, too."

Both victims survived but if the firefighters hadn't been nearby, the outcome could have been very different.

Sleeger, along with Capt. David Bowman and firefighters Kenneth Swartz, Joseph Portner, Shawn Firestone, Donald Newcomer and Kevin Westover were awarded Chief's Letters of Commendations for their efforts.

Awards: Here's a look at the firefighters who were honored at the ceremony:

Chief's Letter of Commendation: For rescuing three people, including a pregnant woman, from the roof of a home in the 100 block of North Albemarle Street on Sept. 12, 2014

Deputy Chief Chad Deardorff

Firefighters Timothy Golden and Todd Stough

Chief's Letter of Commendation: For giving medical aid while off duty to a man injured in a motorcycle crash outside of city limits

•Capt. David Bowman

Promotions:

•Chad Deardorff to deputy chief

•David Ferguson to assistant chief

•William Sleeger Jr. to Captain

Retirements:

Administrative Assistant Steph Seredych, 40 years

•Firefighter Scott Ott, 45 years

•Capt. Robert Behler, 20 years

•Deputy Chief Greg Halpin, 34 years

2014 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year:

•Lisa J. Welty, a volunteer since 1990

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.