Four Beach Firefighters Receive Highest National Honor

2015 Ben Franklin Award of Valor for Complex Mass Casualty Rescue

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Four Virginia Beach firefighters were recognized today for their courage and dedication while saving the lives of three critically injured children during a challenging and horrific vehicle accident on April 16, 2014. The men were honored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs at the 2015 Fire-Rescue International conference in Atlanta.

The prestigious award recognizes firefighters from around the world for their expertise in training, leadership, courage, heroic actions and safe practices. The Benjamin Franklin Award of Valor is the highest honor bestowed by the association. It is named after the nation’s first fire chief, Benjamin Franklin.

Medals of valor were presented to Capt. William Bailey, Master Firefighter Kevin Wirth, Firefighters Robert Doran and Paul Sigwart. Fire Chief Steven R. Cover also was honored.

The firefighters were recognized for their valiant efforts after a crash on Sandbridge Road in which a pickup truck hit a car carrying seven people. Six people were trapped inside the flattened wreckage. Responding with great courage and composure in the face of a complex, stressful situation, the crew skillfully cut through metal, removed child after child, and worked feverishly to save their lives.


For a full description of the rescue, visit:


For photos of the award ceremony, visit:


For more information, contact District Chief Michael Barakey at (757) 385-1095 or 621-6664 or


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