Plainfield Firefighters Honored by State Fire Marshal for Heroism



Four members of the Plainfield Fire Protection District were recognized by the Illinois State Fire Marshal at the 30th Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Medal of Honor Ceremony May 9 in Springfield.

The crew was honored for their actions while responding Dec. 31, 2022, to a motor vehicle on Interstate 55 that had rolled off the expressway, down the embankment and caught fire with an occupant trapped inside.

Lt. Eric Jensen, Lt. Pat Murphy and Firefighter/Paramedic Rob Underhill received the Firefighter Excellence Unit Citation Award for an act of service in the line of duty, demonstrating excellence, teamwork and professionalism in service to the citizens of the State of Illinois.



Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Mullins received the Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the State of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of outstanding bravery or heroism. The award was given for demonstrating in great degree the characteristics of selflessness and personal courage above and beyond the call of duty, under adverse conditions, with the possibility of extreme personal risk.

On Dec. 31, 2022, the crew started fire extinguishment, and vehicle extrication while Mullins entered the vehicle to help try to free the trapped victim.

As the crew continued to work on freeing the trapped occupant of the car, the fire kept flaring back up. Mullins then took his own took SCBA face piece (the mask firefighters use to breathe fresh air in smoke) and place it on the trapped victims face, leaving Mullins without a mask of his own.

Shortly after that and as additional crews arrived, the patient was able to be removed from the vehicle and taken to the hospital for evaluation.

“Firefighters serve their communities with pride, honor and loyalty and share a deep bond with their brothers and sisters they serve next to. This memorial stands as a reminder that we shall never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice doing what they loved while selflessly helping those in need,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera at the ceremony.

“Today, we honored those true heroes while paying respect and gratitude to their service and to their families.”

“Our members took an oath and swore to protect the citizens and property of their respective communities,” said Chuck Sullivan, President of Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois.

“Day in and day out we respond to countless emergencies across our state. Today we honored those who went above and beyond the call of duty. We also honor those who sacrificed their life in service to others. We will never forget them, their families and their selfless devotion to duty.”

Twenty-three firefighters were honored with the Medal of Valor award, including 21 from the Highland Park Fire Protection District for their efforts during the mass shooting at the July 4. 2022, parade. Seven people died, and 48 were injured.

The award is given by the State of Illinois to a firefighter for an act of heroism or bravery that clearly demonstrated courage and dedication in the face of danger while in the performance of duty.



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