Two Falls firefighters earn top state honor for rescue

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two Niagara Falls firefighters will share honors as co-firefighters of the year for their actions in saving a man from being swept over the falls last month.

Captain John Carey and firefighter Bart DeRosa will receive the award from the New York State Professional Firefighters Association at the group’s convention in Syracuse Wednesday night. The NYSPFFA is a statewide organization representing professional firefighters.

A distraught man stranded himself on a rock in the rapids above Niagara Falls in the early morning hours of May 7. Police negotiated with him for more than six hours when he suddenly jumped into the river.

Captain Carey and firefighter DeRosa had stationed themselves down river in harnesses tethered to the shore. They were able to grab the man about 20 yards from the brink of the falls and pull him safely to shore.

The president of the NYSPFFA, Mike McManus, says: “This is an example of first responders remaining calm, vigilant and in command in stressful, cold and wet circumstances to prevent a tragedy.”

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