The Northern Central Volunteer Firemen’s Association recently presented awards to Newark firefighters Rod Bliss, Juan Ortiz and Doug Velte, as well as police officer Dan Weegar.
The firemen collectively received the Firefighter of the Year Award. Weegar was awarded with First Responder of the Year.
All were honored at the recent Wayne County Firemen’s Association banquet. Bliss, Ortiz and Velte won the Fireman of the Year Valor Award, and Weeger received the Emergency Service Valor Award.
The awards stem from a multifamily structure fire that occurred on March 22, 2018. Bliss, Ortiz, Velte and Weegar were clearing a motor vehicle accident scene when the call came in. Upon arrival, they found an elderly man trying to escape from a second-story window.
Bliss and Weegar lifted Velte to the roof while Ortiz, driver of Newark Rescue 7, secured the ladder. Velte freed the man from the window and the rescuers guided him down the ladder to safety.
The victim received medical transport. Bliss, Ortiz, Velte and Weegar remained at the scene to suppress the fire, assist in the investigation and clean up.