The Philadelphia Fire Department has honored a member of Ladder 16 as Firefighter of the Year for his off-duty rescue of a woman trapped in a burning building.
Firefighter Jason Marcinkiewicz was on his way to work earlier this year when he came upon a three-story rowhouse in Port Richmond with fire showing on the second floor and smoke billowing from the third-floor windows — and two women threatening to jump.
Marcinkiewicz made a life-saving decision by telling the occupants not to jump, knowing from the sound of nearing sirens that his own company — Ladder 16 — would be there soon.
Upon Ladder 16’s arrival, Marcinkiewicz grabbed a 28-foot extension ladder, raised it to the third floor window, climbed up and rescued one woman from the hot and smoky top floor, placing her into the care of EMS providers.
“One of the things about firefighters — they’re never off-duty,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “When we talk about this being a 24x7x365 job, we mean it. And Jason’s actions demonstrate it.”
At a ceremony Oct. 9 at Fireman’s Hall Museum, Marcinkiewicz was quick to share credit with others who responded to the fire on the 2500 block of E. Lehigh Avenue. In all, PFD members saved four people on that June morning.
“It’s an honor to accept this award, but it is a mistake to look at it as an individual effort,” Marcinkiewicz said. “No one could have done it without the guy next to him.”
Marcinkiewicz joined the PFD in 2005 and has spent his entire career at Ladder 16.