On Saturday last, in presence of two former fire commissioners, , city officials, and some 800 or more persons assembled in the drill yard at fire headquarters in East Sixty-seventh street, Manhattan, New York, Mayor Low made the annual presentation of honor medals to firemen for heroic deeds at fires. After the ceremony he said that to decorate these was one of the greatest privileges he had ever had and that he wanted to praise these particular members of the New York fire department. “You come (he continued) from companies in various parts of the city, which shows the uniform excellence of the firemen of this city.”
First Grade Thomas J. McArthur, of engine company No. 47, received the Bennett medal for dragging out an unconscious comrade from amid the crashing walls and the third explosion at the Tarrant fire in October, i960.
First Grade Fireman Jeremiah Haggerty, of engine company No. 4, received the Bonner medal for creeping down from the bulkhead of the Mallory line pier into the smoke-enveloped cabin of a barge, dragging its captain, his wife, and three children out, carrying them one by one across a shaky, improvised bridge to safety, and then returning to the barge and jumping on to another, dragging its captain out and landing him just as the barges collapsed.
First Grade Fireman James Monaghan, of engine company No, 163, received the Trevor and Warren medal for climbing up a thirty-five-foot ladder to the fourth floor of a burning First avenue tenement house, where, wrapping his legs round the top rungs of the ladder, he reached and lowered over thirty persons from the windows to his comrades below. That work having been accomplished, by means of a scaling ladder he climbed to the fifth floor and rescued two little girls while the ladder was burning under him.
The Strong medal was awarded to First Grade Fireman Thomas Malavey, engine company No. 51, for his rescue of Miss Helen Miles at No. 415 West Fifty-seventh street.
The Stephenson medal, for general efficiency as a commanding officer, was awarded to Captain John F. Devanny, engine company No. 29, for maintaining the most efficient and the best drilled company during the year.
It was a hard task to choose the successful candidates for the Bennett, Bonner, Trevor-Warren, and Strong medals. The number of heroic rescues was so great and the risks accompanying them so similar to, and yet so different from one another that, if casting lots had been resorted to, no one would have been surprised.