Honour for Kyogle firies who tried to save their dying mate
VOLUNTEERS from the Kyogle Rural Fire Brigade have been honoured for their actions while responding to a house fire in 2014, during which the unit's deputy captain suffered a heart attack and died.
The Commissioner's Unit Citation For Service was presented at a special ceremony in Sydney today, which is the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters' Day.
Kyogle RFS volunteers Vic Fischer, David Aberdeen, Cody Runciman were mentioned in the citation for their efforts on September 18, 2014 when they, along with deputy captain Peter Witton, responded to a house fire on Brindle Creek Rd at Loadstone.
"Shortly after departing, the crew became aware that Deputy Captain Witton was showing signs of distress and had become unresponsive," the citation explains.
"The crew immediately notified Fire Control, requested an ambulance and stopped the incident response.
"As they pulled the truck to the side of the road, Deputy Captain Witton was lapsing in and out of consciousness."
The crew had grave concerns for Deputy Captain Witton, so they took him out of the truck and administered first aid and CPR until paramedics arrived.
He went into cardiac arrest.
Paramedics and the RFS crew worked together on the side of the road for 25 minutes in an attempt to stabilise Deputy Captain Witton before his transport to hospital.
He did not regain consciousness and passed away on the way to the hospital.
"The Kyogle Headquarters 1 crew demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism and dedication in their efforts to preserve the life of their fellow crew member and mate Deputy Captain Peter Witton," the award citation reads.
"The actions of the crew reflect the NSW RFS traditions of mateship and dealing with extreme adversity."
RFS Northern Rivers Superintendent Michael Brett said the citation was a huge honour for unit volunteers Vic Fischer, David Aberdeen and Cody Runciman.
"They went to extraordinary lengths ... it's still hard to comprehend today that Peter didn't survive," he said.
"They went above and beyond. A normal, every day person wouldn't have been able to do what they did.
"They came together as a group and no, the result wasn't good, but they did what they could.
Supt Brett said the crew was "still pretty cut up" about Deputy Captain Witton's death.
"It's still fairly raw," he said.
"But I'm very proud of them - if that had of been me, I would have wanted them to do the exact same thing they did for Peter."