Manatee County Fire Chiefs’ Association Awards

Posted: March 21, 2024

On March 21, 2024, several members of East Manatee Fire Rescue were recognized for their exceptional service to the community. Their professionalism and selfless service is second to none.

The Hurricane Campaign Award

On August 30, 2023, twenty-two members of the West Manatee, East Manatee, Southern Manatee, North River, and Cedar Hammock Fire Districts responded as part of an Engine Strike Team from Manatee County to the Big Bend area of Florida following the landfall of Hurricane Idalia where they conducted firefighting and search/rescue support to Suwanee County for 10 days. The individuals from EMFR that received the award are Deputy Chief Will Hall, Lieutenant Eric Hoying, Engineeer Daniel Lane, Firefighter Luis Rivera, and Firefighter Sean Martin.

Chief Whitehurst, Engineer Lane, Deputy Chief Hall, and Chief Rigney
Chief Lee Whitehurst, Engineer Daniel Lane, Deputy Chief Will Hall, and MCFCA President Ben Rigney

The Chiefs’ Unit Citation Award

On February 22nd, 2023, the Parrish Fire District (PFD) and North River Fire District (NRFD) received a call to assist a sub-contractor who had become trapped in a repair hole while working on plumbing. Upon arrival, PFD discovered a male patient stuck waste-deep in the approximately 10ft deep and 8ft wide repair hole. The initial report given by bystanders indicated that a subcontractor, working on a residential sewer line in a repair hole, was entrapped after a collapse. Despite attempts by the worker and a co-worker to free the entrapped man, they were unsuccessful.
Recognizing the severity of the situation, PFD and NRFD initiated a multi-county trench rescue response. Additional resources, including Technical Rescue Team (TRT) 636 (comprising Heavy Rescue 418, Car 438, and Trailer 438), East Manatee Ladder 619, and Hillsborough County TRT, were requested. The teams worked together to set panels in the repair hole to prepare for extrication.
The patient’s legs were pinned in the mud, but he had no other injuries. Crews worked tirelessly throughout the night, taking more than 5 hours to successfully extricate the patient. Personnel on the scene assisted with digging, shoring, and retrieving gear from on-site resources. They constructed shoring, set up panels, and utilized resources at hand to ensure a successful trench rescue. Following extrication, the individual was transported to Tampa General Hospital, treated for injuries, and released on February 23rd, 2023.
The dedicated personnel who responded on the night of February 22nd, 2023, worked tirelessly throughout the night to provide care and safely extricate the patient. Despite the challenges posed by multiple agencies and the everchanging dynamics of the situation, the personnel executed their duties flawlessly. They demonstrated an outstanding job, tackling the challenging trench with skill and determination. The crews that night “acted in a unified and efficient manner to bring the situation under control with minimal collateral damage to persons and property in immanent peril.” The individuals from EMFR that received this award are Deputy Chief Paul Wren, Lieutenant Adam McDaniel, Firefighter Isaac Libby, and Firefighter Connor Reilly.

Deputy Chief Will Hall, Firefighter Connor Reilly, Firefighter Isaac Libby, Lieutenant Adam McDaniel, Deputy Chief Paul Wren, MCFCA President Ben Rigney, and Chief Lee Whitehurst